Filosofa Tries Not To Rant … Oops!

I tried really hard last night to write a post that didn’t turn into a rant.  I failed.  The only news I read that didn’t evoke a rant, put me to sleep!  There’s just so darned much to rant about these days …


It appears that the inglorious Republican Party is determined to impeach President Biden.  It started the day after his inauguration when Margie Greene filed articles of impeachment against the President (before he had even settled in, let alone made any policy decisions) claiming that he had ‘abused’ his power.  Nobody took it seriously, knowing that Margie is a conspiracy theorist, follower of QAnon, and not terribly intelligent.

The latest, though, really sent me into rant mode.  Senator Ted Cruz, also not terribly intelligent, has said that the Republican Party will impeach President Biden in 2023 if, in fact, they manage a majority in both chambers of Congress in the mid-term elections this November.  He made it clear that there was really no reason for impeachment, no legitimate cause, other than “just because we can.”

“… whether it’s justified or not … the Democrats weaponized impeachment. They used it for partisan purposes to go after Trump because they disagreed with him. And one of the real disadvantages of doing that . . . is the more you weaponize it and turn it into a partisan cudgel, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

No, you Jackass!  Trump was not impeached because we disagreed with him!  He was impeached … TWICE … because he broke the law, abused the power of his office, and stabbed the people of this nation in the back with his autocratic ways!  Take your head out of your rather large posterior and wake up, Senator Cruz!

Now, I don’t anticipate that the Senate, even if led by a Republican majority, will vote to convict President Biden and remove him from office, because so doing would leave them with … GASP … a president who is both a Woman and Black!  The two things they hate most!

Unfortunately, Cruz is not up for re-election until 2024, at which time I hope the good people of Texas will remember how he abandoned them when a winter storm left them without electricity, leaving the country and heading for Cancún where the temps were in the 80s and electricity was plentiful.


Two of the former guy’s minions seem to have established organizations that are, in addition to other issues, advocating murder.  Okay, I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m angry.  They are actually suing the Biden administration over vaccine mandates, which in my book means they prefer that everybody has the right to remain unvaccinated and thus go about spreading the lethal virus, infecting and killing people.

The first such organization is headed by the man with Nazi ties, former senior adviser and the architect of the former guy’s draconian immigration policies, Stephen Miller.  The organization is America First Legal (AFL), whose goal is to “oppose the radical left’s anti-jobs, anti-freedom, anti-faith, anti-borders, anti-police, and anti-American crusade” and “defend our citizens from unconstitutional executive overreach.”  Also affiliated with the AFL are former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker – a whole bunch of arseholes all under one umbrella.

The group is suing the Biden administration over “tyrannical and unconstitutional vaccine mandates,” claiming, among other things, that OSHA doesn’t have the power to “try and end pandemics.”  Like … ending the pandemic is a bad thing??????????  Sheesh!

The second group is led by former Vice-President Mike Pence and calls itself Advancing American Freedom (AAF).  You notice how these groups toss about that term ‘American’ as if anybody not on their side must not qualify to be an ‘American’?  AAF has joined forces with AFL to attempt to convince the Supreme Court to block the implementation of OSHA’s vaccine-or-testing mandate, arguing it is unconstitutional and poses a burden on workers.  WHAT burden???  The burden to keep safe and also help keep their co-workers, families, friends and neighbors safe?  Is that really such a burden?

My daughter, granddaughter and I have all been fully vaccinated, including the booster, and I can tell you that it did NOT infringe on our personal freedoms nor cause us any ‘burden’ in any way, shape, or form!  We can end this pandemic if every person does their part, but some would obviously prefer to spend massive amounts of time and money ensuring that more and more of us will become ill and many more will die needlessly.


And now, I will stop ranting so I can manage a bit of sleep tonight and so you can find something cheerier to read on a Sunday morn!  Have a great day!

The Week’s Best Cartoons 1/8

This is TokyoSand’s first cartoon post of the year and one that is well worthy of sharing.  Needless to say, the main topic of the week is the one-year anniversary of the attempted coup on January 6th … and some of the ‘toons have brilliantly captured the thoughts and reactions one year later.  As always, TS has culled the best of the lot for us, so enjoy!  Thank you, TokyoSand, for all your hard work on these Saturday posts!


It’s a new year and I’m back with our normal Saturday editorial cartoons feature. This year started off with a bang! New Year By Mike Luckovich By Walt Handlesman By Rob Tornoe January 6 Anniversary By Pat Bagley By Bill Bramhall By Mike Luckovich By Michael Ramirez By Lalo Alcaraz By Kal…

See all the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!

Bits of This, That, and The Other

Today, I promise no posts about January 6 or the former guy.


Yesterday I let out a “WHOOP” when the wheels of justice, after turning very slowly, finally picked up momentum and rendered three sentences that were fair and well-deserved.  The three killers of Ahmaud Arbery were all sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for father and son Greg and Travis McMichael.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.  The other, William “Roddie” Bryan, will be eligible for parole after 30 years because he did cooperate with police and according to his lawyer, showed remorse for his actions on that fateful day.

Some will say this is justice, and it is right and just for the killers, and it is justice in one sense for Arbery’s family but make no mistake … this is still not justice for Ahmaud Arbery.  Mr. Arbery is still dead, so there can be no justice for him.


The good news …

I noted in a prior post that no matter what happens, the media cannot seem to give President Biden credit for anything, however they are fighting in line to blame him for almost everything.  Today is another example of that.

The facts:

Over the past year (2021), 6.4 million jobs were created, a new record, and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.2% to 3.9%.  This was the greatest jobs growth year in modern U.S. history, and it’s not even close.

The headlines:

  • Hiring falters in December as payrolls rise only 199,000 (CNBC)
  • US hiring cools in December as economy adds just 199,000 new jobs (Fox Business)
  • Jobs disappoint in December, but unemployment falls to 3.9% (CNN)
  • U.S. gains scant 199,000 jobs in December as businesses confront labor shortage (MarketWatch)
  • U.S. hiring slowed in December as employers struggled to find workers (New York Times)

Nearly 200,000 jobs added in December, despite the surge in Covid cases, and it’s referred to as “only” or “scant” 199,000, despite the good news overall in the jobs and unemployment numbers at the close of the year.  I wonder just what President Biden must do to earn a positive headline?  Whatever it is, you can rest assured that Congress will keep him from being able to do it.

Granted, the President doesn’t control the economy and doesn’t deserve credit nor blame in its entirety, however he or she (hopefully someday) does play a role with their policies and rhetoric, and throughout history, the press has assigned either blame or praise.  Unfortunately, today’s press seems to be under the spell of the former guy and is steadfastly refusing to give President Biden so much as an inch.


The not-so-good news …

The year 2020 saw the highest number of gun deaths in the U.S. in history.  Ever.  45,222 people died of gunshot wounds — a 14 percent jump from 2019 and the largest year-over-year rise on record.  This record is certainly nothing to be proud of and in my book, it’s well past time to place very restrictive constraints on gun ownership in this nation.

In the past, I have called for “sensible gun legislation”, thinking that the best way would be one step at a time, thus not antagonizing those who believe the 2nd Amendment is the only one that matters.  However, given the current level of violence in this nation, and the fact that there are 120.5 guns for every 100 people in the U.S., or about 400 million guns for a nation with a population of 330 million people, it is time for much more aggressive action.  Do I believe it will happen?  No, certainly not in my lifetime, for the gun nuts care more about their guns than they do about their own families and have fought tooth-and-nail against even background checks or assault rifle bans.

School shootings, mass shootings at malls, religious places, grocery stores, restaurants, etc., have risen over the years and today it is not at all unusual for at least one person to be ‘packing heat’ in your local Kroger store or Applebee’s.  Those who worship their guns won’t step forward to protect our voting rights, our way of life, or system of government, but they will fight to the death for their ‘right’ to own as many guns as their garage can hold.  SIGH.

“They Call Me Mr. Tibbs” — R.I.P. Sidney Poitier

It was less than a week ago that I shed a tear over the death of the beloved Betty White, and today I shed yet another upon reading of the death of another Hollywood icon, one who broke the colour barrier on the ‘big screen’, Sidney Poitier.  Mr. Poitier was 94 … not quite as old as Betty White who died just a few days short of her 100th birthday, but like White, he had a long and meaningful career … he made a difference.  How many of us can say that?

Sidney Poitier (r) with Nelson Mandela

A bit about Mr. Poitier’s start in life from today’s Washington Post

Sidney Poitier was born on Feb. 20, 1927, in Miami, where his parents were on a visit to sell tomatoes they had grown on their farm in the Bahamas. The family soon returned home, to the desperate poverty of Cat Island. His mother dressed the seven Poitier children in flour sacks.

At 15, after being jailed overnight for stealing corn, he was sent to live with an older brother in Miami who could provide a roof but little else. After the frightening encounter with police in Florida, he left for Harlem, hoping to find a more welcoming environment for Black people.

At first, he scrounged for change to sleep in pay toilets. When it became too cold to sleep on benches, he lied about his age (he was 16) and joined the Army in 1943.

He became a physiotherapist at an Army psychiatric institution on Long Island, but his anger at what he called the “abusive” attitude toward the patients and the racism he encountered at a local roadhouse antagonized him. Through the intervention of a sympathetic doctor, he received an honorable discharge.

Flipping through help-wanted ads in 1945, he saw a call for actors at the American Negro Theatre in New York. He figured it was easy work — that any profession that advertised next to requests for porters, busboys and dishwashers must require no special talent.

At his audition, Mr. Poitier’s unintelligible, singsong island accent dismayed theater founder Frederick O’Neal. But O’Neal was in such dire need of male actors that Mr. Poitier was hired with the understanding that he would also moonlight as the theater’s janitor.

During his first Broadway appearance, a small part in a 1946 production of Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy “Lysistrata,” Mr. Poitier suffered stage fright and began delivering lines out of order. But citing his “terrible fierce pride,” he later said he was determined to refine his skills. Over the next several years, his good looks and sensitivity as a performer brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and he made a strong impact in “No Way Out,” his film debut.

In his second feature film, Mr. Poitier was cast as a young clergyman in “Cry, the Beloved Country” (1951), based on Alan Paton’s novel about apartheid. Working on location in South Africa, Mr. Poitier was forced to live far from the studio, and he had to deal with other restrictions and insults. Officially, he was an “indentured laborer” of director Zoltan Korda. Mr. Poitier later called South Africa “on a racial, political and social level, the worst place I have ever been.”

Still a relative unknown on-screen, Mr. Poitier owned and operated a Harlem ribs restaurant to support his growing family between movie assignments. He had married Juanita Hardy, a model, in 1950, and they had four children.

As we now know, Mr. Poitier went on to help change the way the world viewed Black people through his many, many films and roles.  I first remember seeing him in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and then in To Sir with Love, both in 1967, but the role he may be most famous for was that of Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night.  There is no way I could possibly summarize Mr. Poitier’s life and career in a single blog post, nor will I try.  A few accolades are in order, however.  Mr. Poitier was the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor.

In 2002, Mr. Poitier received a lifetime achievement Oscar for “his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence.” That year, Denzel Washington became the second Black man to win the best-actor Oscar.  In 2009, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Mr. Poitier was modest about his legacy, saying …

“I was part of an influence that could be called paving the way. But I was only a part of it. I was selected almost by history itself. Most of my career unfolded in the 1960s, which was one of the periods in American history with certain attitudes toward minorities that stayed in vogue. I didn’t understand the elements swirling around. I was a young actor with some talent, an enormous curiosity, a certain kind of appeal. You wrap all that together and you have a potent mix.”

R.I.P. Sidney Poitier … you made a positive difference in the world.

Words Of Wisdom From Jimmy Carter

Yesterday, I had more than enough of articles about the anniversary of the January 6th attempted coup … I was on overload, most of the articles repeating the dire warnings of the one I had read just before and that I had previously expressed here on Filosofa’s Word.  Mind you, I understand the desire to pontificate on the events of that day and their extended outcomes, potential disasters going forward, for I have indulged in such myself.  However, there comes a point where it’s overload, time to step back and focus elsewhere for a few minutes or a couple of days.  So, today’s post was going to head off in a different direction.  Until … I read this piece in the New York Times by former President Jimmy Carter and … well, Carter is the most humanitarian president I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I respect his views.  So, without further ado, I hope you’ll bear with me for one more piece about that fateful day and its implications for our future …

Jimmy Carter: I Fear for Our Democracy

Jan. 5, 2022

By Jimmy Carter

Mr. Carter was the 39th president of the United States.

One year ago, a violent mob, guided by unscrupulous politicians, stormed the Capitol and almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power. All four of us former presidents condemned their actions and affirmed the legitimacy of the 2020 election. There followed a brief hope that the insurrection would shock the nation into addressing the toxic polarization that threatens our democracy.

However, one year on, promoters of the lie that the election was stolen have taken over one political party and stoked distrust in our electoral systems. These forces exert power and influence through relentless disinformation, which continues to turn Americans against Americans. According to the Survey Center on American Life, 36 percent of Americans — almost 100 million adults across the political spectrum — agree that “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” The Washington Post recently reported that roughly 40 percent of Republicans believe that violent action against the government is sometimes justified.

Politicians in my home state of Georgia, as well as in others, such as Texas and Florida, have leveraged the distrust they have created to enact laws that empower partisan legislatures to intervene in election processes. They seek to win by any means, and many Americans are being persuaded to think and act likewise, threatening to collapse the foundations of our security and democracy with breathtaking speed. I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally — the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power — has become dangerously fragile at home.

I personally encountered this threat in my own backyard in 1962, when a ballot-stuffing county boss tried to steal my election to the Georgia State Senate. This was in the primary, and I challenged the fraud in court. Ultimately, a judge invalidated the results, and I won the general election. Afterward, the protection and advancement of democracy became a priority for me. As president, a major goal was to institute majority rule in southern Africa and elsewhere.

After I left the White House and founded the Carter Center, we worked to promote free, fair and orderly elections across the globe. I led dozens of election observation missions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, starting with Panama in 1989, where I put a simple question to administrators: “Are you honest officials or thieves?” At each election, my wife, Rosalynn, and I were moved by the courage and commitment of thousands of citizens walking miles and waiting in line from dusk to dawn to cast their first ballots in free elections, renewing hope for themselves and their nations and taking their first steps to self-governance. But I have also seen how new democratic systems — and sometimes even established ones — can fall to military juntas or power-hungry despots. Sudan and Myanmar are two recent examples.

For American democracy to endure, we must demand that our leaders and candidates uphold the ideals of freedom and adhere to high standards of conduct.

First, while citizens can disagree on policies, people of all political stripes must agree on fundamental constitutional principles and norms of fairness, civility and respect for the rule of law. Citizens should be able to participate easily in transparent, safe and secure electoral processes. Claims of election irregularities should be submitted in good faith for adjudication by the courts, with all participants agreeing to accept the findings. And the election process should be conducted peacefully, free of intimidation and violence.

Second, we must push for reforms that ensure the security and accessibility of our elections and ensure public confidence in the accuracy of results. Phony claims of illegal voting and pointless multiple audits only detract from democratic ideals.

Third, we must resist the polarization that is reshaping our identities around politics. We must focus on a few core truths: that we are all human, we are all Americans and we have common hopes for our communities and our country to thrive. We must find ways to re-engage across the divide, respectfully and constructively, by holding civil conversations with family, friends and co-workers and standing up collectively to the forces dividing us.

Fourth, violence has no place in our politics, and we must act urgently to pass or strengthen laws to reverse the trends of character assassination, intimidation and the presence of armed militias at events. We must protect our election officials — who are trusted friends and neighbors of many of us — from threats to their safety. Law enforcement must have the power to address these issues and engage in a national effort to come to terms with the past and present of racial injustice.

Lastly, the spread of disinformation, especially on social media, must be addressed. We must reform these platforms and get in the habit of seeking out accurate information. Corporate America and religious communities should encourage respect for democratic norms, participation in elections and efforts to counter disinformation.

Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.

January 6th Anniversary — Demand Accountability!

Today is January 6th 2022, exactly one year after the insurrection, riots, attempted coup, or whatever terminology you choose to use, at the U.S. Capitol in an attempt by Trump and his mindless followers to overturn the election that was won, fair and honestly, by President Joseph Biden.

Much has been discovered about who, how, and why the horrific, nightmare-inducing events of that day occurred, but as yet, far too much remains shrouded in mystery as damn near every person subpoenaed to give evidence in front of the committee investigating the day has refused or ignored the subpoena, and as conflicting tales come from the likes of Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro, Mike Pence, and countless others.  Others who have been subpoenaed to testify have appeared before the committee and then pleaded the Fifth Amendment, the right not to incriminate oneself by one’s testimony.  I break here for my thoughts on that …

If you have to plead the Fifth Amendment, the right to ‘remain silent’ rather than to tell the truth and incriminate oneself, then you obviously have something to hide.  It’s not rocket science, folks!  If I say I refuse to answer your question on the grounds that my answer will incriminate me, then I am obviously guilty!  This has got to be just about the dumbest amendment to the U.S. Constitution that exists!

“Did you kill your husband?”

“I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.”

Duh … it really doesn’t take a high-paid lawyer, a judge or jury to know that this person did, indeed, kill her husband!

And so, when the likes of Alex Jones, Mark Meadows and Roger Stone “plead the fifth”, it becomes obvious they have something … more likely many somethings … to hide!  And just in case pleading the fifth isn’t enough to cover their vulnerabilities, several are suing the committee.  Alex Jones, Mike Flynn and eight other major right-wing figures and Trump advisers have sued over the committee’s investigation, including the former guy, his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, outside lawyers John Eastman and Cleta Mitchell.  Obstruction, distraction, or both … take your pick.

The goal of those who are doing their level best to slow the investigation is to drag it out beyond the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans hope they will control both chambers of Congress and will call off the investigative committee.  That CANNOT BE ALLOWED to happen!!!  There MUST be accountability for any and all involvement in the events of and leading up to that day, no matter how minor.

There is plenty of guilt, and the guiltiest are the ones crying the loudest, doing their damndest to delay and obstruct.  But make no mistake, my friends … if there is not harsh punishment for every person even remotely involved, it will open the door to a far more violent, far more successful coup in 2024.  Note, please, that I did not say it “might”, but that it WILL.  The groundwork is already being laid, plans made, and lessons learned from the failure in 2020.

Instead of thoughts and prayers on this one-year anniversary, let’s renew our determination to NOT allow the perpetrators to go unpunished and to consistently demand that Congress support the January 6th Committee in its effort to get to the bottom of the attempted coup and to punish the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.  DO NOT let this fade into the background amidst all the other distractions … it will be either the continuation or the death of the United States as we have known it.  The Republican Party has redefined itself … don’t let them redefine the nation.


Additional Note:  The former guy has cancelled his intended “press conference” that was initially scheduled for today.  It is reported that his ‘advisors’ warned against it, said it could turn on him and on those Republicans running for congressional seats in the mid-terms.  Surprisingly, the former guy heeded their advice.  I’m pleased to know we won’t be seeing his ugly mug or hearing his lies and false accusations, but … it ain’t over yet, folks.

Good People Doing Good Things – Michael and Camille Geraldi (Redux)

Frustration with other things seems to have rendered me incapable of focusing tonight, and I was about ready to give up on a ‘good people’ post, but then I thought perhaps a re-blog of a previous post would be better than a blank slate or another of my rants (pity my girls and the kitties who have had to listen to me grouse and rant all evening!)  This one hails back to June 2017, so while a few of you many have seen it then, most of you haven’t.  The Geraldi’s are a couple who definitely deserved a redux! 


28 June 2017

I actually planned and started today’s post to be three short stories about ‘good people doing good things’ for disabled people.  But once I got to the story of Michael and Camille Geraldi, I realized that I did not want to consign their story to a short, 200-300 word snippet, as theirs is a story deserving of so much more.  So, please allow me to introduce you to two beautiful people …

Geraldis-3Michael Geraldi was a pediatrician and his wife Camille a nurse.  What, you ask, is so special about the Geraldis?  During the course of their 40-year marriage, these two wonderful people adopted 88 children with special needs. It started in 1973 when Michael would often find Camille, late at night and well past the end of her shift, in the nursery, rocking the special babies, the ones that families and medical science had already given up on.  Camille had already adopted three of these infants, and when Michael proposed to her, she replied that she wanted to dedicate her life to providing a home for these special children.  Michael replied, “I want to follow your dream.”

child-1The Geraldi family includes kids with intellectual disabilities, spina bifida and Down syndrome. Some have autism or extreme facial deformities. “One child was born with only a brain stem,” Camille said. “We took care of him. He lived to be 25 years old and never had a bedsore.”

The couple established the Possible Dream Foundation in 1986, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Through the years, 32 of the children they adopted have died.   “The children I took in were expected to die,” Camille, now 68, told CNN. “But so many of them have lived.” 

child-2To the extent possible, the Geraldis created a normal, loving home environment for the children, complete with assigned chores.  More than 40 children, many of whom are now adults, consider the Geraldis their parents, with countless others staying for extended periods of respite care, hospice, therapeutic rehabilitation and sometimes specialty day care. The oldest, Darlene, is now 32. She lives in a Florida group home. The youngest, Isabella, is 8. Born to a cocaine addict, the girl was deaf and blind as an infant. Today, she is performing a year above her grade level in school.

child-3In addition to the difficulties of caring for so many special-needs children, they have suffered other difficulties as well.  In 1992, Hurricane Andrew flattened their home. The kids were okay, but the family had to relocate to some cabins Mike, co-owned along with several other doctors in Murphy, North Carolina. Then in 2011, while the family was away on a camping trip, lightning struck their homestead. The fire destroyed everything: the house, vehicles, their sense of security. It was after the fire that they relocated from Florida to Ellijay, Georgia.

Geraldis-bookIn 1996, Camille wrote and published a book, Camille’s Children: 31 Miracles and Counting, about their experiences to that point, and providing information about resources for parents of children with disabilities.

The Geraldis have been featured on CNN, in People Magazine, Larry King Live, USA Today, Ladies Home Journal and The Miami Herald.  In addition, they have been featured not once, but twice on 60 Minutes. Here is a clip of the most recent, in 2014

A 1999 article in The Ambassadors  featuring the Geraldis says “the family expenditure is at the astronomical figure of $264,000 annually. The family expenditures in a single month is more than $22,000 including $1,800 electricity and $1,200 for diapers. The Geraldis consume 18 gallons of milk, and 12 large pizzas weekely. Each frozen food order includes 12 packages of brocolli, 36 beef patties, 20 bags of meatballs, and 35 package [sic] of hotdogs!!”  I won’t even ask how many rolls of toilet tissue they need in a week!!!

geraldis-2In the same article is a quote by Camille Geraldi that warms my heart:

“I always keep a new baby with me every moment for the first six months to make sure we bond. Having a second child does not divide and diminish a mother’s love, the way a mathematician divides and reduces his numbers. Love is not a pound of meat that can be weighed or a truckload of bricks that can be counted. Love is not finite and measurable or bound by logical rule. Love is illogical and irrational. It is bottomless. There is plenty to go around whether there are two children or thirty-one.”

geraldis-michaelSadly, Michael Geraldi died of cancer on 08 March 2016.  Until shortly before his death, Michael continued to practice medicine full time, providing pro bono medical services for any mentally, physically or developmentally challenged child who needed it. The couple had never taken a real vacation, and were planning to do some traveling in 2015 when Michael was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos.

These two people are the epitome of humanity, of compassion, of caring for their fellow humans.  Please take a moment to visit the Possible Dream Foundation website where you can learn more about Michael and Camille, as well as see pictures and bios of some of the children they adopted. These two people truly lived their lives for others. Two thumbs up to these courageous and caring people!

When I first started this weekly feature, Good People Doing Good Things, I despaired that it would be difficult to find the kind of people I was looking for every week.  I did not just want to feature rich people who gave away a portion of their wealth as a tax write-off annually, nor did I want to feature people whose good works might have underlying motives.  I wanted people who did good things, whether large or small, simply out of the goodness of their heart, out of a sense of humanity.  I need not have worried about finding these people … every week I find more than I have the time and space to write about, and that, my friends, gives me hope that despite it all, the human race will persevere in the face of adversity.  Until next week …

Blame Biden!

The press has been grossly unfair to President Biden.  Even the outlets that Republicans taunt as being “left-leaning” such as The Washington Post and the New York Times have resorted to making much ado about any negative news, and ignoring or glossing over the positive.  And the right-wingers comeback is predictably … “Whaddabout when Trump was president?  The press always gave him grief.”  Sure, but there is one MAJOR difference … Trump deserved every bit of the criticism and more, while Biden is trying very hard to do the right thing, to reverse the damage that was done during the four years of Trump’s largely chaotic rule.

Just one example from Eric Boehlert’s newsletter, Press Run …

NBC ignores blockbuster 943,000 new jobs report

It’s hard to believe this actually happened, but it did. On August 6, the Department of Labor released the July jobs report which produced mind-boggling results — nearly 1 million new jobs were created as the U.S. economy roared back to life following the pandemic. For some inconceivable reason, “NBC Nightly News” on August 6 did not cover the jobs report; no mention was made at all.

They weren’t alone in shrugging off the fantastic economic news for the Biden administration. At 4 p.m. on that Friday, roughly seven hours after the stellar July job numbers were released, the story was highlighted in the 37th headline as you scrolled down the NBC News homepage. At the CBS News homepage, none of the top 50 headlines at that time addressed the jackpot economic report.

At CNN, by Friday afternoon the jobs report had been blacked out as the network’s homepage made way for “This Underrated Form of Exercise is So Good for You,” and “Lucy Lawless Reunites With ‘Xena’ Costar.”

The episode was perhaps the best indication that when it came to economic news, the press had a very specific story it wanted to tell in 2021 (inflation!), and that good news could be set aside.

I have seen President Biden blamed for the “supply chain crisis” which was really no crisis at all, as despite the dire predictions that store shelves would be empty for Christmas, retail sales in the United States jumped nearly 11 percent in 2021 compared with the holiday period in 2019.

After months of the media insisting consumers were terrified about the rising inflation rate, and that stores would be barren this season thanks to supply chain woes, shoppers snatched up everything in sight, sending holiday sales soaring to a 17-year high. Clothing sales jumped 47% compared to 2019 (pre-Covid), jewelry 32%, electronics 16%.  That runaway spending meant consumers had no problem finding products, despite months of dire media warnings and claims that it all meant terrible news for the White House.

I can speak from my own experience … I did all my shopping online this year, as due to both my own illness and the pandemic, I was not able to shop in person (nor did I have any desire to, for I am not a ‘shopper’).  Not one single item I ordered was delayed significantly or unavailable.  Not ONE!  Well … with the exception of toilet tissue … every time somebody says “BOO”, U.S. consumers run to the store and buy out all the toilet tissue.  I’ll never understand the obsession over toilet tissue!  Wine, I could understand, but toilet tissue???

And then there’s the issue of not enough workers to fill certain jobs.  This one confounds me, for the positions that companies are having trouble filling are low-paid jobs and workers have moved on to greener pastures where they can earn a living wage.  HOW THE HELL is that President Biden’s fault?  If there is blame (and there is – plenty to go around) it is the corporations who are unwilling to let a single penny of profit go to the people producing and selling their product.  Blame also lies with Congress , glossy-eyed over the donations of the aforementioned wealthy corporations, who have steadfastly refused to raise the the minimum wage beyond the current whopping (sarcasm intended) $7.25 per hour.  With increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), that $7.25 is now worth 21% less than it was in 2009 when it was last raised, or $5.73.  This amounts to just under $12,000 per year before taxes are withheld!  My rent alone is more than that!!!  So, is it any wonder that people are gravitating toward better paid jobs in an effort to feed their family and keep a roof over their heads without having to work 16-hour days???  No, folks, President Biden isn’t the reason companies can’t keep employees … the companies themselves are the root of their own problem.

The most recent unemployment rate as of November was 4.2% … matching the lowest level in 50 years, yet the media chose to focus on other issues, barely giving a nod to the unemployment numbers and in some cases claiming the numbers shouldn’t be taken seriously.  Granted, no president makes nor breaks the economy single-handedly, but if we’re going to criticize him over the negative, why not give him a bit of credit for the positive?

And then there’s Covid.  We have nearly 850,000 deaths in the U.S. due to Covid … the most of any nation on the planet.  Why?  No, it is not President Biden’s fault!!!  The former guy so mishandled and bungled the response to the pandemic in early 2020 that it is a miracle we aren’t all dead.  He intentionally withheld information and downplayed it, held rallies and events that were hotbeds for the transmission of the disease, yet Republicans and the media blame President Biden.  Biden has done everything in his power to ensure that there are sufficient vaccines for every person over the age of 5, but if there is blame for the continuing surge, it falls squarely on the shoulders of the anti-vaxxers.  Those who refuse the free vaccine for whatever ‘reason’ are responsible for the continuation of the rise in cases and deaths, and they are to blame for the isolation that many of us are still experiencing.

The Republicans such as Kevin McCarthy and many others feed this pack of lies to the media and they gobble it up like leftover Thanksgiving turkey!  The old saying is “If it bleeds, it leads”, but the new saying should be “If it pleases Trump, to the front page it will bump.”  I strongly suspect that the editors of the formerly reliable news organizations are well aware that they are distorting the news in many cases, but they must have some underlying reason to do so, and my guess is that it involves $$$$$$$$$$.  Doesn’t everything these days?

President Biden and his attempt to pass legislation to help the struggling people of this nation has become the scapegoat for any troubles, real, perceived, or contrived.  That it is unfair is the least of the problem … that it will colour the views of some of the people, ie voters, is the greater problem.  If President Biden and by extension the Democratic Party can be blamed for every problem, then the elections of 2022 and 2024 will indeed reflect those falsehoods.

I don’t expect the media to fawn over the current president, but neither do I expect them to jump into the fray of finger-pointing and blaming him for problems that started long before he took office!  I expect them to report facts and leave the drawing of conclusions to their readers – most of us are, after all, smart enough to put two and two together and understand what is happening.  Unfortunately, others will gobble up the sensational headlines and continue to blame President Biden for everything from the price of lemons to the toilet paper shortage!

One Nation, Divisible, with Liberty and Justice for Few – How the U.S. could split up

Due to my own unfortunate circumstances of late, I have not been reading many blogs, but I’m gradually working my way back into the fray. Tonight, I read Robert’s blog and I found it to be extremely well-written (as his always are) and more thought-provoking than any I’ve read in a long time. I urge you to read this from start to finish and think about the possible outcomes of our current state of division. There are no easy or particularly good solutions. Thank you, Robert, for this excellent piece of work!

The Secular Jurist

One Nation, Divisible, with Liberty and Justice for Few
How the United States of America could split up much sooner than expected
January 3, 2022

By Robert A. Vella

The United States of America is currently the longest standing democracy in the world at nearly 246 years old (as a constitutional republic, it is almost 234 years old).  The next oldest democracy is Norway at 208 years old.  That’s quite an accomplishment considering that it barely survived tearing itself to pieces during the disastrous Civil War of 1861-1865 and also the global threat to democracy posed by Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan during the catastrophic Second World War.  But, even the most optimistic Americanophiles have always known that the U.S. could not endure forever.  All countries experience multiple peaks of achievement and valleys of failure, and all of its various forms of government are inherently transitory.  Even the…

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Already In 2022 … Guns And Death

As I write this post, it is just after 10:00 p.m. on January 1st 2022 in the U.S. and already 99 people have lost their lives to gun violence in the first 22 hours of the new year.  One of my New Year’s hopes I wrote about in a previous post was that reasonable gun laws would be enacted by Congress before the end of the year.  Had I taken a moment to write to members of Congress after seeing today’s statistics, my letter would have started with …

Hey, you STUPID Jackass, take your head out of your arse and do something right just for once!!!

But, as our friend Keith reminds me from time to time, that isn’t the right approach. It is certainly the one I felt at that moment in time, though.  There is something wrong with a nation, a society, whose citizens demand to be allowed to kill people, and that is exactly what the gun nuts in this country are doing.  Guns are intended to kill.  Period.  The only reason any fool wants to own a gun is to kill, whether they wish to kill fellow humans or animals.  And they will fight for the right to own an arsenal so that they can kill lots of people, before they will fight for the right for their children to get a good education or be able to live healthy lives.  Their guns mean more than their children, spouses, co-workers, neighbors, or dogs.

When I mention ‘reasonable gun legislation’, it is because I know that the sort of gun laws I would really like to see will never pass muster in this nation.  So, by ‘reasonable’, I am willing to compromise and settle for serious background checks on ALL gun purchases, disallowing anybody with a history of violence from owning a gun, and a cessation of conceal carry laws.  You want to carry a gun into Wal-Mart?  Fine, but make sure it can be seen by us all so we can exit and do our shopping elsewhere.  You’ll have most of the store to yourself … just you and your gun.

Last year, there were 42 school shootings in this country.  FORTY-TWO!!!  Thousands of children’s lives were in danger as they attempted to get an education!  Only in the good ol’ US of A.

In 2021, 44,768 people died as a result of gun violence.  Granted, Covid took more lives in the same time frame, and that is also the fault of the people in this nation who refuse to take precautions, but it is a story for another day.  Also, in 2021 there were 693 mass shootings, 310 children killed, 746 injured, 1,223 teens killed and 3,368 injured!  And yet, people just roll their eyes, shrug their shoulders, and go back to watching their televisions or grilling steaks on the backyard barbeque!

Every single year the number of mass shootings, the number of children and teens killed by guns, increases over the prior year.  EVERY YEAR!  No other nation on earth has such an abysmal record!

Last month in Oxford, Michigan, a father purchased a gun for his 15-year-old son.  The next day, the son, Ethan Crumbley, took the gun to school where, with malice aforethought, he shot and killed four of his classmates and injured seven others.  He is being charged as an adult and will likely spend most of the rest of his life behind bars … as should his parents.  The parents are cowards who ran and hid, leaving their son to shoulder the blame by himself.  What parent in his/her right mind puts a killing machine in the hands of a teen???  A gun nut, that’s who.

No other country turns a blind eye, permits almost anybody to own a gun, as the U.S.  In essence, this nation tells people that it’s okay to kill … just don’t get caught!  In 1994, Congress actually got off their collective arses and passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that prohibited civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms that were defined as assault weapons as well as certain ammunition magazines that were defined as large capacity.  Unfortunately, by the time it expired ten years later in 2004, enough members of Congress were bought and paid-for by the NRA that the law was allowed to expire on September 13, 2004.  Every time that reinstatement has even been mentioned, the gun nuts go berserk and the members of Congress tuck their tails between their legs and slink off to safer turf.

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m sick and damn tired of walking through the grocery store not knowing whether that man perusing the bell peppers is carrying a gun and might just go off on a tangent if somebody accidentally bumps him with their cart.  I’m sick and damn tired of worrying about the children I see walking past my house in the morning on their way to the school bus, not knowing if they will be safe and return home all in one piece in the afternoon.  I’m sick and damn tired of reading about multiple shootings in my city every night, two of which were within a few feet of my front door last year!

DO SOMETHING, Congress!  The gun nuts in this country are destroying our peace of mind, not to mention our safety!  You have a responsibility … a grave responsibility … to every one of the people in this country.  Instead, you are owned, lock stock and barrel, by the wealthy arms industry and cowed by the gun nuts in the nation.  What about the rest of us?  Think about it.