Let Da Snarky Snippets Roll …

Okay, friends, it’s been a while since I’ve let the snark roll and today I think it’s high time!  It’s building up and causing me to be a very grumpy ol’ gal, so hold onto your hats while I share just a wee bit of my angst this afternoon …


Equal Justice Under Law

Those are the words engraved above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building.  Apparently, some of the nine justices sitting on the Court today never look up as they are entering the building.  Per Justice Clarence Thomas, husband of the notorious January 6th coup supporter …

“I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad. I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized what we will have as a country, and I don’t think the prospects are good if we continue to lose them.”

That “tremendously bad” thing he was talking about wasn’t his wife’s contribution to the attemped coup last year, nor was it the draft of the decision to reverse Roe v Wade, but rather the fact that the draft was leaked.  Now, a couple of points here … there is much speculation that it was leaked with full knowledge and support of at least one of the justices.  More to the point, though … speaking about “undermining the institutions” … what is being undermined is the purpose of the institutions, what they are intended to accomplish.  The U.S. Supreme Court is intended to hear disputes and make a final decision based on the Constitution and on what is best for the people of this nation.  In a number of recent rulings, they appear to have made their decisions based on what the Republican Party wants, not what is best for any of us.  So, Clarence …


Another one speaks up too late

Former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, has written a book ironically titled A Sacred Oath.  It is yet another ‘tell-all’ book about the former guy’s ignorance and inhumanity.  Now, I haven’t read the book … I may or may not, I’m as yet undecided … but I’ve read a few reviews and snippets that were published in the media.  In the book, Esper apparently tells that Trump wanted to shoot at civilians protesting against racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and suggested that the Pentagon launch Patriot missiles at drug laboratories in Mexico — saying no one would know the United States was responsible.  This one thing exemplifies the utter stupidity of the former guy and proves that we barely dodged the bullet from 2017-2021.

My question for Mr. Esper is this:  WHY THE SAM HELL didn’t he make this public as it happened, rather than two years after the fact???  Does he expect to be hailed a hero for letting us know how close we came to being shot for exercising our 1st Amendment rights, or how close we came to starting a war with our ally, Mexico?  I’m quite sure there are some interesting, nay fascinating, tidbits in Mr. Esper’s book, but I have zero respect for him, for he could have gone to the proper authorities, could have stood before Congress and told what he knew back in early 2020, and it might … just might have been enough to finally convince the U.S. Senate to finally convict and remove the criminal from the Oval Office.  WHY did he wait?

Today, we face the very real threat that the former guy will run for office again in 2024 and a truly catastrophic threat that he could win, which would be the end of this nation as we’ve known it.  Mr. Esper could have been a hero, but instead he continued to be a loyal lapdog to a madman and is now attempting to profit from it via book royalties.  Apparently his ‘Oath’ wasn’t so ‘Sacred’ to him after all, eh?


Summer of Rage

Summer doesn’t officially begin for more than a month, but it has already been dubbed the “Summer of Rage”, as a result of the many protests supporting women’s rights, specifically Roe v Wade, across the nation this past weekend.  In Washington D.C., more than 20,000 protestors marched in protest of the Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe, and similar protests occurred in nearly every major city in the nation.  The people are making their voices heard loud and clear, but it is doubtful whether it will have any impact on the decision by the Court, since the nine justices are guaranteed their job for life and have no need to even consider the voice of the people.

Members of Congress, on the other hand, do serve at the will of the people and after the Senate refused to support women’s rights last week, it may well be that certain Republicans will face an uphill battle.  Frankly, I hope every damn one of Republicans in both chambers of Congress who are up for re-election this November lose by a landslide.  Apparently, most of them did not get the memo stating that women are people too.  Women’s rights are Civil Rights.  We are not some strange space aliens who must be controlled, nor are we objects created solely for men’s pleasure, as most Republican males seem to believe.  Summer of Rage, eh?  Looks like it’s gonna be a long, hot summer.

YOU Do Not Walk Away From This One

Our friend Roger has something to say about yesterday’s mass shooting that apparently was racially motivated and perpetrated by an 18-year-old white male. Roger’s words need no introduction by me except to say that I am in full agreement with him. Thank you, Roger.

One additional note:  There has been yet another mass shooting this morning at a church in California.  That’s three (that we know of) in one weekend.  Welcome to the USofA.

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

Buffalo shooting: Ten dead in suspected race attack at New York state store:

Inditement Buffalo

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-61452958

There is next to zero chance of the following becoming an actual legal action. This is not the point of this post. The theme of this post concerns public responsibility, the consequences of polemic actions and the lack of concern to any victims.

I contend the following should be considered for inditement under 18 U.S.Code 373- Solicitation to commit a crime of violence:

Inditement Trump

Donald John Trump

Inditement Cruz

Rafael Edward Cruz

Inditement Majorie Taylor Greene

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Ron DeSantis

Ronald Dion DeSantis

Trump on the grounds of pursuing of a political career by inflammatory rhetoric, Cruz by his recent display on biased hostility to an African American nominee to the Supreme Court; Taylor Greene by sustained, hostile inflammatory rhetoric not suited to the holder of an elected office; De Santis by abuse of his officer as Governor of Florida by direct legislation in…

View original post 475 more words

TokyoSand’s Week’s Best Political Cartoons

As she always does, TokyoSand has taken the time to scour the media for the best political ‘toons of the week.  Political cartoons are appealing because they sum up a situation using few or no words, whereas the rest of us require hundreds or even thousands of words to try to explain the why, what, when, where and hows of what is happening in our world.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work in finding these gems!


This is only a sampling, so be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!!!

WHOA … The Hypocrisy!!!

What, exactly, is the ‘Right to Life’?  Whose life?  To what extent are we willing to go to preserve life?  And what, exactly is life?  I’m frankly sick of hearing people say they are “pro-life” when all they really mean is they are against abortion.  Something in the news yesterday, though, connected some dots and made me stop … and after a bit of cursing and punching the coffee pot for not heating quickly enough, I sat down and said, “WHOA … the hypocrisy!!!!”  What was that something?  The second mass shooting of the weekend yesterday afternoon in a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, where at last count, 13 people were shot, 10 murdered.  Folks, let me make something perfectly clear here:  the nearly-uncontrolled right to own guns is completely inconsistent with the right to life.  Completely.  If a person buys a gun, he or she does so with the intention of using that gun to kill.  Guns literally have no other purpose than to maim and murder.

Next time someone tells you they are ‘pro-life’, ask them if they own a gun.  If they say ‘yes’, then you can inform them that they are a potential taker of life, so no, they are not pro-life at all, they are just using the term to justify their stance on taking away women’s rights.

The shooter in Buffalo was an 18-year-old white male who apparently hates Black people for some reason, for the government is treating this as a hate crime based on his ‘manifesto’.  Gee, I wonder where he got that prejudice from?  Look first at the parents, but then look at society today.  Wonder why an 18-year-old kid even has access to a gun?  Last Wednesday, a judge in ruled that California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under 21 is unconstitutional.  What’s next … will it be ruled unconstitutional to ban giving guns to children age 14?  Age 10?  Age 5?  The gun culture in this nation is truly insane.  In no other nation is a civilian allowed to own an assault weapon, let alone an arsenal!

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know my stance on guns … they do not belong in the hands of civilians.  Full stop.  Need further proof?

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Friday night, there was yet another mass shooting that left 17 people injured, but no fatalities thus far, miraculously.  This one took place late Friday night shortly after fans left a nearby NBA playoff game.  Two other shootings in the same general vicinity took place earlier that evening, leaving an additional four people injured.

My message to every single member of the United States Congress is this …

Do not offer ‘condolences’ to the families of the victims in Milwaukee or Buffalo.  Do not offer meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers’.  DO SOMETHING!  Initiate and pass serious and meaningful gun legislation to get the guns out of the hands of people!  No 18-year-old child has the need for a gun.  Nobody who has EVER been accused of abusing another person in any way should be allowed to own a gun.  And NOBODY anywhere, ever, for any reason has a need for an assault weapon!  Shut down the gun shows where even the most basic rules are openly disregarded.  Override with federal legislation the individual state laws that allow for carrying concealed weapons, for possession of a gun without a license, and make the federal law ‘One Strike, You’re Out’!

But alas, mine is a pipe dream, for those very people who claim to be ‘pro-life’ would scream, yell, and threaten any who even suggested such laws.  No matter that gun violence is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  You have a roughly 1-in-315 lifetime chance of death from gun violence.

For those who would claim that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives them the right to own as many guns of any sort as they wish, let me clarify the exact wording of that Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

NOWHERE does it say that people should be allowed to keep a gun in the glove compartment of their car or walk into a grocery store with one concealed in pocket or purse.  NOWHERE does it say that guns should be freely available to teens.  NOWHERE does it say that a person should be allowed to own an assault weapon that didn’t even exist when the Constitution was written in 1787!  Those who believe that abortion is an infringement on the right to life, better wake up and look at the gun culture, the lack of gun laws in this country, for already this year 15,862 people have lost their life to a person with a gun.  That is more than the total gun deaths all year in 2016!!! But yet, do you hear anybody speaking for the ‘right to life’ of those victims?

Friday it was Milwaukee, Saturday it was Buffalo … will your neighborhood be Sunday’s statistics?

♫ Abraham, Martin and John ♫

Today, in a comment, dear friend Roger sent me this song, and as I listened, something … clicked.  I felt tears welling, wanted to share this beautiful moment.  I realize this is one I have played here before, this is the same version musically, but a slightly different video and a very moving one, I think.  Thank you, Roger, for reminding me of this song … a tribute to some truly great men who helped people, who cared about the nation and its people.


A tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy.  This song was written in response to the assassination of King and that of Robert Kennedy in April and June 1968, respectively.  More than 50 years … can it really have been so long ago?  I remember it … truly as if it were just a few weeks ago.  As I listen to this song, I cannot help but choke … remembering … the hope these men brought us … how I wish they were here today … 😢

The original version was recorded by Dion Francis DiMucci, better known simply as Dion.  Although the song has been recorded by many of my favourites such as Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, the Brothers Four, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, and Smokey Robinson, to name a few, the Dion version remains my favourite.  And so, I bring you, in honour of four truly great men whose lives, because they were great, because they worked tirelessly for equality for all, were cut far too short …

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Regent Music Corporation, Stonehenge Music

The ‘Crisis’ That Isn’t A Crisis At All

One of the big news items this week has been a shortage of infant formula.  Now, if you think about this one, it defines a problem that I have mentioned before, and foreshadows what the future may well come to look like.  First off, there is a very cheap and readily available solution to the problem … women come fully equipped to feed their babies without needing to spend money to buy commercial formulas!  They are called ‘breasts’ and most women have two of them, thus are able to produce enough milk to feed their offspring for the first few months of life.  No other species on the planet requires commercially produced products to feed their young.  But even if, for one reason or another a woman is not able to breast-feed her newborn, there is another simple solution — regular milk with a bit of corn syrup added.  When daughter Chris was a baby, we did that more than a few times when we couldn’t afford tinned formula.  So, this shortage of infant formula is a non-crisis that has been blown way out of proportion in the media.  It’s laughable, but what it portends is not in the least bit humorous, for it shows our lack of creativity and resilience when the going gets tough.

Just a few days ago, I commented to a blogging friend that the day will come when all those billions of dollars the wealthy have hoarded will have zero value to them.  There will come a day when wits and knowledge will be the de facto currency.  If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest the book One Second After by William Forstchen.  It is a chilling tale of an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) hitting the U.S. power grid and what life would be like in the seconds, hours, days, and weeks after.  Things we don’t even think about, like being able to get a prescription for a life-saving drug such as insulin, the ability to buy food, find potable water, stay warm, and more.  The premise of an EMP hitting the power grid, or a super-storm taking out power for a long period of time, or a nuclear weapon deployed … is not at all far-fetched.  If we cannot even remember how to feed an infant without tinned formula from the supermarket, how on earth would we survive with … no supermarkets, no refrigeration, no internet, no lights, no heat, etc.?

The people who will survive will not be those wealthy people who are used to having their laundry done, meals cooked & served, houses cleaned, and every other thing done for them by servants.  The people who will survive will be those who know how to grow their own food, who are resilient enough to survive without such luxuries as automobiles, electric lighting and air-conditioning.  Will those same people who cannot even figure an alternative to commercial infant formula be able to find food and water to keep their families alive?  Not the families of those who have lived their lives believing that they are somehow ‘special’ and that their money entitles them to special treatment.  It will come down to survival of the fittest, not of the richest.

Imagine Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk being on the same playing field with all the rest of us, their billions of dollars sitting offshore in a Swiss bank, or invested in whatever high-yield stocks they own, and they have access to not a single dime.  And even if they did, there is nothing that anybody could do for them – their dimes and dollars have no value to anyone, and thus no value to them. The only things of value will be food, water, and shelter.  Will humans work together for the greater good, or will they backstab and nitpick in an attempt to rise to the top of the heap?

So, back to the shortage of infant formula … this ‘crisis’ as it’s being called, is in part due to the very people who are now crying about not being able to find formula!  You see, back in 2020 when the supply chains were tied in knots due to the pandemic, greedy people fearing a shortage bought infant formula in massive quantities and hoarded it.  People had plenty, so they didn’t need to buy it for a year or so, which led to depressed sales, supply exceeded demand, and thus the producers cut back on production.  Standard laws of supply and demand, Econ 101.  This, coupled with a recall by the nation’s largest producer of infant formula, has resulted in a 43% decrease in availability.

No, the temporary shortage of infant formula is not a ‘crisis’ by any stretch of the imagination, but we should see this as a lesson, looking into the future where other, more important things are at stake, and begin preparing for the day when there is a real crisis.  Learn to grow a few healthful things, walk more and drive less, become less dependent on modern conveniences and technology.  Be prepared.  I am not a conspiracy theorist, nor a doomsayer, but let’s face it, my friends, there are so many ways available for an enemy such as Russia to retaliate for what they perceive as our improper intervention in their affairs and … what better way than to shut off the electricity? The technology exists, has existed for many years.   And please … stop obsessing over the shortage of infant formula … it is temporary and not really important, for there are viable alternatives.  There are no viable alternatives for food and potable water.

Think Smaller — Protect Your Right To Vote!

We place far more emphasis, spend far more energy & time, on the big elections – president and members of Congress – than we typically do on local and state elections, but I read an OpEd article in the New York Times this morning that made me stop and think … made me realize that perhaps we need to shift our focus, or at least widen it.  Heck, I don’t even know who is on the ballot for Secretary of State in my own state … time to do some research!  Ms. Barbara McQuade, teaches law at the University of Michigan, and oversaw voting rights suits as U.S. attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District, so she knows of what she speaks …


The Most Pivotal Elections in 2022 Are Not the Ones You Think

By Barbara McQuade, May 12, 2022

The fate of our democracy doesn’t hinge on the battle for the House or the fight for control of the Senate, but on state elections for a once sleepy office: secretaries of state.

No elected officials will be more pivotal to protecting democracy — or subverting it — than secretaries of state. While their responsibilities vary from state to state, most oversee elections, a role in which they wield a tremendous amount of power. Secretaries of state own the bully pulpit on voting, and they control the machinery of elections.

They also have a platform to spread disinformation, such as false claims that voting by mail is not secure. A Republican secretary of state could reduce the number of ballot boxes or polling places in Democratic areas and limit staffing to create long lines that dissuade potential voters. They can also refuse to certify the results in particular counties or even the entire state. In a close presidential race, if even one secretary of state in a swing state were to put his thumb on the scale, we could see an election that really is stolen.

This has happened before. In 2000, Katherine Harris, Florida’s secretary of state, halted the recount process and certified George W. Bush, for whom she served as a campaign chairwoman, as the winner of Florida’s electoral votes. But our current political moment is even more fraught, as Donald Trump casts doubt on the last election, whipping his supporters into frenzy while Republican field generals quietly maneuver conservative hard-liners into positions of power.

Twenty-seven states will choose a secretary of state this fall, and in 17 of those states, at least one of the Republican candidates for the office actively denies that President Biden won the 2020 election. Fourteen candidates have formed the America First S.O.S. Coalition, which aims to “reverse electoral fraud” by eliminating mail-in ballots, requiring single-day voting and committing to “aggressive voter roll cleanup,” measures that could suppress thousands of Democratic votes. If they win office, Republicans will control the voting process in these five crucial swing states where the 2024 election may be decided:

One closely watched race will be in Georgia, where the Republican incumbent, Brad Raffensperger, is fighting for his political life in the May 24 primary after having refused Mr. Trump’s demands to “find” the 11,780 votes he needed to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory in that state. Although Mr. Raffensperger withstood Mr. Trump’s efforts in 2020, he has now joined the crusade warning against the threat of voter fraud, supporting Georgia’s restrictive new voting laws and citing “voter confidence” as the “No. 1 issue” American voters face.

His main primary opponent goes even further. Representative Jody Hice, a former pastor endorsed by Mr. Trump, is an election denier who has said that “I believe with all my heart” that the will of Georgia voters was subverted in 2020. Republicans have held this office since 2006, so most likely, one of these two men will be in control in 2024.

In Michigan, the Democrats are in a stronger position. The Democratic incumbent, Jocelyn Benson, will face Kristina Karamo, a community college instructor endorsed by Mr. Trump, this fall. Ms. Benson, a former election law professor, literally wrote the book on the role secretaries of state play in protecting the democratic process and resolutely withstood challenges to Michigan’s 2020 election.

Her opponent, on the other hand, has made debunked claims that she witnessed election fraud while observing poll workers in Detroit in 2020 and said that the Capitol riot was conducted by “antifa posing as Trump supporters.” Mr. Trump has been stumping for Ms. Karamo for a reason: “This is not just about 2022,” he said at a recent rally. “This is about making sure Michigan is not rigged and stolen again in 2024.” Recent polling shows Ms. Benson with a 14-point lead over Ms. Karamo, but that margin is small considering Ms. Benson’s greater name recognition.

In Pennsylvania, the secretary of state is appointed, so the tossup governor’s race will decide who ends up overseeing elections. While the Democratic contender for governor, Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general, has made voting rights a cornerstone of his campaign, some of the Republican candidates seem determined to undercut them. Recent polling shows State Senator Doug Mastriano, a retired Army colonel with a Ph.D. in history, leading the rest of the Republican candidates.

Mr. Mastriano has embraced Mr. Trump’s claims of a stolen election; according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, he spoke with the president in the days after the election and pushed for a new slate of electors to be sent to Congress. Videos show him and his wife wandering through the barricades after rioters — some of whom he’d paid to send to Washington — breached the Capitol. His election as governor is a strong possibility in a state that tends to seesaw between Democrats and Republicans.

Other candidates for secretary of state include Mark Finchem in Arizona and Jim Marchant in Nevada. Mr. Finchem, a state representative who attended the Stop the Steal Rally in Washington last year, has introduced a resolution to decertify the results of the 2020 election in three big counties and a bill to empower the Arizona Legislature to reject election results. As of the end of the first quarter, Mr. Finchem led all the other candidates in the race in fund-raising, making him the most likely to win the Republican primary and a strong candidate in the general election.

Mr. Marchant has followed the same campaign playbook in Nevada. A former state legislator, he has not only called it “almost statistically impossible that Joe Biden won” the state, but also said he would not have certified Nevada’s slate of electors had he been secretary of state in 2020; indeed, he pushed for his state to submit an alternative slate. While Nevada has gone to the Democratic candidate in the past four presidential elections, three of its past four secretaries of state have been Republicans, and this race could go either way.

For Democrats to fend off the America First slate, they will need to invest in these races, helping candidates build the name recognition they need to combat the onslaught from the right. That will take time, money and a strategy to raise awareness about the crucial role these offices play in protecting our democracy. A nationwide effort like the “SoS Project,” which was started by a group of Democrats following the 2004 election and folded several years later, could help. Individuals can also help by volunteering for secretary of state candidates and by talking to their neighbors and on social media about the importance of these positions.

Races for other offices may attract bigger names, but elections for secretary of state may bring about the most significant shifts in power in 2022. As Mr. Trump has said, sometimes the “vote counter is more important than the candidate.”

Women Lose AGAIN!!!

Some people treat their furry companions (cats, dogs, hamsters, etc.) as ‘pets’ … animals to be played with at will, to put cutesy little outfits on them (never mind that they are already far more beautiful than we humans, because they have fur!), and shoo them away when they aren’t in the mood to play or pay attention to them.  In our house, the furry ones are not pets … they are family members who just happen to walk on all fours.  Some men treat their wives or significant others much the same as some egotistical humans treat their furry family members – as chattel to entertain, to be seen and not heard, and to be available at any time to indulge the male’s baser instincts.

Today, every single Republican senator plus Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, attempted to prove to us women just how little we are valued in this so-called “great” nation.  The U.S. Supreme Court already made it clear to us a week or so ago that we are considered sub-standard, that we must submit to male dominance, and today the U.S. Senate confirmed it.  Well guess what, guys?  It might have been easy for you back in the 19th century to keep your womenfolk barefoot and pregnant, cleaning & cooking, washing the clothes on rocks down by the creek, but today’s women are one hell of a lot stronger than you obviously believe us to be!  If you Republican males with the huge egos – yes, I mean you, Mitch McConnell, and you Kevin McCarthy – think we are going to simply go to our corners, cry a few tears, and then put on our makeup so we look nice for you guys, THINK AGAIN!

And to those of you who think we’re overreacting … I’d like to direct you to my friend Annie’s post.  Please take a few minutes to read this and take note of the Republicans running for office who carry with them a history of abusing women.  Remember that Hollywood Access tape that Trump never even bothered to deny where he said it was okay to grab women in their private parts because “when you’re famous, they let you do it.”  And yet, almost 63 million people voted for this neanderthal in 2016!!!  Of course, nearly 66 million voted for Hillary Clinton, but since she’s a mere woman … well, ’nuff said.

I’ve often said that the U.S. is deeply divided by political party, but the reality is that we may be divided even more by gender!  Look again at Annie’s post … Eric Greitens, Max Miller, Andrew Wilhoite … all abusers of women, yet all have won their Republican primary bid!  What happened?  Did the men lock up their womenfolk and refuse to let them vote?  Or did the women, with more brain power than their male counterparts, do the sensible thing and vote for Democrats or Independents?

Yes, I’m angry, my friends.  This argument isn’t only about a woman’s right to end an unwanted, dangerous, or forced pregnancy, but it is about our right to make our own decisions, our right not to be dominated by males solely because they consider themselves superior based on a tiny little part of the anatomy.  Some states, like Michigan, are led by a governor who respects and values women.  But far too many states are led by the likes of Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, have state legislatures who delight in setting back the rights not only of women, but of Blacks and LGBTQ by at least a century.  I have a friend in a neighboring state who I would like to go visit this summer, my own health permitting.  When I cross the state line, will I be stopped, asked for identification, and forced to take a pregnancy test before I am allowed into her state?  Yeah, sure, laugh if you will, roll your eyes and call me an alarmist, but some states have already suggested doing exactly this!

To my fellow women … we must find a way to regain what is being taken from us.  I don’t know how just yet, but we are NOT powerless in this fight.  If nothing else, hand your significant other a set of sheets and a pillow and tell him you hope he can get comfortable on his new bed – the sofa!  Again, please read Annie’s post … it is jaw-dropping!

And on that note, I shall go take a few deep breaths.

Still Hope …

I came across an OpEd by Pulitzer Prize-winning Bret Stephens in the New York Times this morning that I thought made some excellent points, gave encouragement to not lose hope, even as our nation seems to be falling apart at the seams some days.


Can We Still Be Optimistic About America?

May 10, 2022

By Bret Stephens, Opinion Columnist

This is a season — an age, really — of American pessimism.

The pessimism comes in many flavors. There is progressive pessimism: The country is tilting toward MAGA-hatted fascism or a new version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” There is conservative pessimism: The institutions, from primary schools to the Pentagon, are all being captured by wokeness. There is Afropessimism: Black people have always been excluded by systemic, ineradicable racism. There is the pessimism of the white middle and working classes: The country and the values they’ve known for generations are being hijacked by smug, self-dealing elites who view them with contempt.

There is also the pessimism of the middle: We are losing the institutional capacity, cultural norms and moral courage needed to strike pragmatic compromises at almost every level of society. Zero-sum is now our default setting.

These various kinds of pessimism may reach contradictory conclusions, but they are based on undeniable realities. In 2012, there were roughly 41,000 overdose deaths in the United States. Last year, the number topped 100,000. In 2012, there were 4.7 murders for every 100,000 people. Last year, the rate hit an estimated 6.9, a 47 percent increase. A decade ago, you rarely heard of carjackings. Now, they are through the roof. Shoplifting? Ditto. The nation’s mental health was in steep decline before the pandemic, with a 60 percent increase of major depressive episodes among adolescents between 2007 and 2019. Everything we know about the effects of lockdowns and school closures suggests it’s gotten much worse.

Economics tell a similar story. “Twenty-first-century America has somehow managed to produce markedly more wealth for its wealthholders even as it provided markedly less work for its workers,” observed Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute in a landmark 2017 Commentary essay. It’s in part from the loss of meaningful work — and the consequent evaporation of pride, purpose and dignity in labor — that we get the startling increase in death rates among white middle-aged Americans, often to suicide or substance abuse.

The list goes on, but you get the point. Even without the daily reminders of Carter-era inflation, this feels like another era of Carter-style malaise, complete with an unpopular president who tends to inspire more sympathy than he does confidence.

So why am I still an optimist when it comes to America? Because while we are bent, our adversaries are brittle. As we find ways to bend, they can only remain static or shatter.

This week brought two powerful reminders of the point. In Moscow, Vladimir Putin gave his customary May 9 Victory Day speech, in which he enlisted nostalgia for a partly mythical past to promote lies about a wholly mythical present, all for the sake of a war that is going badly for him.

Putin is belatedly discovering that the powers to humiliate, subvert and destroy are weaker forces than the powers to attract, inspire and build — powers free nations possess almost as a birthright. The Kremlin might yet be able to bludgeon its way to something it can call victory. But its reward will mainly be the very rubble it has created. The rest of Ukraine will find ways to flourish, ideally as a member of NATO and the European Union.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, more than 25 million people remain under strict lockdown, a real-world dystopia in which hovering drones warn residents through loudspeakers to “control your soul’s desire for freedom.” Does anyone still think that China’s handling of the pandemic — its deceits, its mediocre vaccines, a zero-Covid policy that manifestly failed and now this cruel lockdown that has brought hunger and medicine shortages to its richest city — is a model to the rest of the world?

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, more than 25 million people remain under strict lockdown, a real-world dystopia in which hovering drones warn residents through loudspeakers to “control your soul’s desire for freedom.” Does anyone still think that China’s handling of the pandemic — its deceits, its mediocre vaccines, a zero-Covid policy that manifestly failed and now this cruel lockdown that has brought hunger and medicine shortages to its richest city — is a model to the rest of the world?

For all its undeniable progress over 45 years, China remains a Potemkin regime obsessed with fostering aggrandizing illusions: about domestic harmony (aided by a vast system of surveillance and prison camps); about technological innovation (aided by unprecedented theft of intellectual property); about unstoppable economic growth (aided by manufactured statistics). The illusions may win status for Beijing. But they come with a heavy price: the systematic denial of truth, even to the regime itself.

Rulers who come to believe their own propaganda will inevitably miscalculate, often catastrophically. Look again at Putin, who really believed he had a competent military.

Which brings me back to the United States. Just as dictatorships advertise their strengths but hide their weaknesses — both to others and to themselves — democracies do the opposite: We obsess over our weaknesses even as we forget our formidable strengths. It is the source of our pessimism. But it is also, paradoxically, our deepest strength: In refusing to look away from our flaws, we not only acknowledge them but also begin fixing them.

We rethink. We adapt. In bending, we find new ways to grow.

We have a demonstrated record of defanging right-wing demagogues, debunking left-wing ideologues, promoting racial justice, reversing crime waves, revitalizing the political center and reinvigorating the American ideal. Our problems may be hard, but they are neither insoluble nor new.

Those without our freedoms will not be so fortunate.

♫ Arizona ♫

Isn’t it funny how a song you haven’t heard nor thought about for decades suddenly pops into your head?  And stays … and stays … and before long it is invading your every waking moment and you’re even softly whistling it while trying to get to sleep as the sun is rising in the east, and the poor cat raises her head, glares at you as if to say, “Shut up and go to sleep, hooman!!”  This song did just that to me this week, so guess what, my friends?  I just had to share it with you, and perhaps some of you will be singing it at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morn!  I was happy to find that I hadn’t played this one yet in all my years of music posts!

This song was written by Kenny Young and recorded in 1969 by Mark Lindsay, a solo effort while still lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders.  Lindsay was backed by L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew. The single peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 14 February 1970 and was awarded a RlAA Gold Disc in April 1970. A version by the British band The Family Dogg was also released in 1969 — no, I did not go listen to it, for it is already 1:30 a.m. and I’m hoping to get to bed sometime tonight … to whistle yet another song!

The song’s title, Arizona, refers to the singer’s girlfriend, whom he considers innocent and naïve. The singer wistfully describes Arizona’s idealism and lifestyle, which he considers absurd and immature (“you’re acting like a teeny bopper runaway child”). He then urges Arizona to discard her hippie trappings, including “hobo shoes”, “rainbow shades”, and “Indian braids”, and view the world through more realistic eyes. However, even as he exhorts Arizona to become more worldly, the singer continues to praise her, describing Arizona as “a little-town saint”. In the end, his love for Arizona and what she represents to him overcomes his cynicism, and the singer decides to follow her example, adopting her view of the world, instead of expecting her to accept his.

Arizona

Mark Lindsay

She must belong to San Francisco
She must have lost her way
Postin’ a poster of Poncho and Cisco

One California day
She said she believes in Robin Hood and brotherhood
And colours of green and grey
And all you can do is laugh at her
Doesn’t anybody know how to pray?

Arizona, take off your rainbow shades
Arizona, have another look at the world
My my
Arizona, cut off your Indian braids
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

Mmmm strip off your pride you’re acting like a teeny-bopper run away child
And scrape off the paint from the face of a little town saint
Arizona, take off your hobo shoes
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

You gotta follow me up to San Francisco
I will be guide your way
I’ll be the Count of Monte Cristo
You’ll be the Countess May
And you can believe in Robin Hood and brotherhood and rolling the ball in the hay
And I will be reading you an Aesop’s fable
Anything to make you stay-ay-ay

Arizona, take off your rainbow shades
Arizona, have another look at the world, my my
Arizona, cut off your Indian braids
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

Hey, Arizona, take off your hobo shoes
Arizona, have another look at the world, my my
Arizona, get off your 8-ball blues
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

Come on, hey, Arizona, take off your rainbow shades

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Kenny Young

Arizona lyrics © Emi April Music Inc., Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Universal Music Corp., Reptillian Music, Cassadee Pope Music Llc, Mike Gentile Music, Pw Arrangements