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

Good People Doing Good Things — Mister Rogers

I was scouring my usual sources for a few good people to write about today and I did find some, but they will have to wait until next week’s post, for during my search something popped up on my radar and by the time I finished reading it, I had tears and knew this would be my good people story this week.

We all knew that Fred Rogers, star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was a good guy.  But this one story shows just how good, just how caring an individual he was.

It all started in early 1987 when …

A mother called into PBS, asking if Mr. Rogers could send an autograph to her daughter. She was suffering from seizures and set to have brain surgery. When Fred Rogers heard about it, he flew to see her in the hospital rather than merely sending an autograph.

When Beth Usher was in kindergarten she had her first seizure. Doctors couldn’t find the problem and sent Beth home.

A few days later, Beth had another seizure. Then another. And another. Eventually, she had around 100 seizures a day. She was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s encephalitis, a rare inflammatory neurological disease that only affects one hemisphere of the brain.

Miraculously, during the 30 minutes when Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood aired, Beth never had a seizure.

“I found his voice comforting. I felt like he was talking to me and nobody else.”

Before surgery that involved removing parts of Beth’s brain affected by the disease, her mother Kathy reached out to the Mister Rogers Neighborhood studio and spoke with the secretary, explaining the situation and asking if she could get a signed copy of Mr. Rogers’ picture for Beth. Less than an hour later, the secretary called back with a special message.

“Will you be home this evening at 7? Fred would like to call and speak with Beth,” the secretary told Kathy. “He called, and I said to Beth, ‘Beth… there’s a friend on the phone for you.'”

Beth spent over an hour on the phone with Mr. Rogers.

“I told him things I hadn’t told my mom or dad. I told him about the surgery and how I thought I might die. It was like talking to an old friend.”

On February 4, 1987, Beth underwent a 12-hour procedure to remove the left hemisphere of her brain. Initially after surgery, she was fine. But things took an unexpected turn, and she slipped into a coma.

“Mr. Rogers would call the hospital every day to check up on me. When he found out I wasn’t improving, he decided to make a trip.”

Beth’s family and nurses stood in the doorway watching as Rogers removed his puppets from his case.

“He gave Beth her own private show,” said Beth’s mother.

Shortly after Mr. Rogers visit, Beth did wake, surrounded by friends.

When Mr. Rogers called that day, Kathy told him the good news.

“He said, ‘Praise God’.”

Mr. Rogers and Beth’s friendship continued through the years. He always called Beth on her birthday until his death in 2003.


In this age where it seems that people think it is ‘cool’ to curse and act stupid on television, Mr. Rogers was the gold standard for children’s television.  So much so that the story goes that his car was once stolen, but when the thieves saw the news coverage, they promptly returned the car with a note reading, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”

Rogers was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, and one year later, after Rogers passed away at the age of 74, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution to commemorate his life.  It read, in part …

“Through his spirituality and placid nature, Mr. Rogers was able to reach out to our nation’s children and encourage each of them to understand the important role they play in their communities and as part of their families.  More importantly, he did not shy away from dealing with difficult issues of death and divorce but rather encouraged children to express their emotions in a healthy, constructive manner, often providing a simple answer to life’s hardships.”

Who knows how many lives he touched in such a positive way that those people grew into ‘good people’ themselves?  So, although I’m ‘a day late and dollar short’ as my grandpa used to say, I say Mr. Rogers deserves to be our ‘good people’ for this week!

Domestic Infant Supply

The Supreme Court draft of the decision to be handed down on Roe v Wade was heinous enough, but the wording has set my teeth on edge even more. Clay Jones of Claytoonz fame gives us his take and as usual, he is spot on! Thanks, Clay!

claytoonz

What was leaked out of the Supreme Court last week was a draft and not the final written opinion for the majority. Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed its authenticity but has declared this isn’t actually the final vote, though it is. But, I’m sure the draft will change because what we saw from the leak is a rough draft before someone was able to tell Justice Samuel Alito not to say the quiet part out loud.

I’m sure at some point, a law clerk would have suggested they remove the line about women being cattle.

At first, I thought this was some social media meme propaganda. Liberals do that stuff too which really pisses me off because we don’t have to make shit up to fight Republicans. They give us all the facts we need. And it sounded so ridiculous that I immediately smelled bullshit. A Supreme Court Justice…

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♫ Both Sides Now ♫ (Redux)

Our friend Keith often plants ‘earworms’ in my head — songs that I find myself humming or whistling (or if I’m alone in the house, even singing! — for hours or days afterward.  Yesterday afternoon, I read his post about this song and ever since, I have had it stuck in my head!  The upside is that I’ve finally, at least for now, stopped singing “Rubber Ducky”!!!  Anyway … long story short … I’m reduxing my post from 2020.  It’s a beautiful song and it’s never too soon to hear it again!  Thanks, Keith!


This song was the first hit song written by Joni Mitchell, whose version appeared on her 1969 album Clouds. Mitchell recalled:

“I was reading Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King on a plane and early in the book Henderson the Rain King is also up in a plane. He’s on his way to Africa and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song. I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did.”

Joni Mitchell had been through a very difficult time when she wrote this song’s lyric. In 1965, she gave birth to a baby girl, but struggled as a single mom (the father was an old boyfriend who left soon after Mitchell got pregnant). She married a musician named Chuck Mitchell that year, but soon after the marriage, gave up the child for adoption. Soon, her marriage was on the rocks, and in 1967 they split up.

I might have liked Joni Mitchell’s version a lot better had I not heard Judy Collins’ rendition, and for me, there was no other.  Collins is known as a folk singer, and has recorded songs written by Leonard Cohen, Pete Seger, Bob Dylan and many others.  Her recording of this song provided her first hit, and also brought exposure to Mitchell, who went on to a very successful career as both a songwriter and performer.

Both Sides, Now
Joni Mitchell/Judy Collins

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons every where
Looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and ferries wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
And you leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know love
Really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say, “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

Oh, but now old friends they’re acting strange
And they shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

It’s life’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know life
I really don’t know life at all

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Joni Mitchell
Both Sides, Now lyrics © Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

Things Flying Under The Radar

Who … me????

I began working on this post yesterday afternoon but had to take a break from it to fold a load of laundry.  I made the mistake of leaving the lid open on my laptop, and when I came back, there was an ‘AZAZx’ typed where I had left off, and a pop-up box asking if I wished to continue using the microphone!  BOO!!! I know it was Boo, for he’s the only one that uses the computer, but I had my microphone disabled, so how the heck did he … that darn CAT!!!  Anyway … on to the business at hand.


For the past week or so, the news has been filled with the leaked Supreme Court draft that will almost certainly overturn Roe v Wade setting women’s rights back at least 50 years, and not much else has been covered.  Even the war in Ukraine took a backseat to Roe.  Now, I am as incensed as any about this decision and plan to speak more on the subject shortly, but there really are some other things of import that we should be aware of.  One such is another Supreme Court decision that was handed down last Monday that, in my view, treads dangerously onto the concept of separation of church and state.

The case was Shurtleff v Boston and the Court ruled that the City of Boston violated the First Amendment by denying Shurtleff’s application to fly a Christian flag over Boston City Hall.  City Hall is a government building that is visited by members of all religions and those of no religion, so why should one single religion be allowed to fly a flag.  To me, the U.S. flag and Massachusetts state flag are the only ones that should be flying over the Boston City Hall.  Not everyone working there or visiting will be Christian.  Does the Court suggest, then, that Muslims, Jews, and Jains should all be able to fly their own flags at the building?  Will it soon resemble the United Nations building?  And then … does this open the door for KKK and Nazi flags, as well?  Religion and government should never mix, and the highest Court in the land, the Court that claims to understand the Constitution so well, should have realized this was a bad decision that will open numerous doors that probably should remain closed.

Already, the Satanic Temple requests Boston to fly their flag for “Satanic Appreciation Week” from July 23-29.  Good luck keeping this from becoming a free-for-all, not only in Boston but around the nation.


In other news, First Lady Jill Biden visited Ukraine over the weekend.  It is extremely rare for a first lady to enter a war zone, but then Ms. Biden, like former First Lady Michelle Obama, has class.  She entered the country from Slovakia on Mother’s Day and met Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, who had not appeared in public since the Russian invasion began February 24th.

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day. I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop, and this war has been brutal, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”

First lady Jill Biden and Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, join a group of children at School 6 in making tissue-paper bears to give as Mother’s Day gifts in Uzhhorod, Ukraine on May 8. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Quite a change from the last First Lady [sic] who wore a jacket printed with “I really don’t care, do U?” when going to visit migrant children who had been separated from their parents at the U.S. border.


And speaking of Ukraine … on Saturday, the day before First Lady Biden visited, the Russians bombed a village school in eastern Ukraine, killing as many as 60 people.  There were about 90 people sheltering in the school when the bomb hit, setting it ablaze.  More than 170 civilians were evacuated from the Mariupol area on Sunday, bringing the total to around 600 given safe passage during a week-long rescue operation.  More than 3,000 civilians have been murdered by the Russians since the initial invasion on February 24th, and it is far from being over, I fear.  Perhaps it’s time to stop allowing Putin’s thinly-veiled threats hold us hostage, keep us from ending this war before half of the people in Ukraine are dead.


Here is just one example of the reason we MUST learn the lessons of history, that we must NOT whitewash or hide true history from our young people.  In the Philippines, yesterday was election day and the people chose a new president:  Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the infamous Imelda Marcos.  Reading about the rallies and the support he has gotten made me feel ill, was eerily similar to Trump rallies and the fans were similar to Trump’s, chanting and holding up peace signs.

According to an article in the New York Times

Rehabilitating the family name has been a recurring theme. Over the decades, the Marcoses have sought to target young voters with no memory of martial law or the torture and killing of political prisoners. Fifty-six percent of the voting population in the Philippines is aged between 18 and 41, and most did not witness the atrocities of the Marcos regime — ideal circumstances for the spread of disinformation, opponents say.

Several groups have sought to disqualify Mr. Marcos’s candidacy, pointing to a 1995 tax evasion conviction and the $3.9 billion in estate taxes that his family still owes the government. Mr. Marcos, 64, has brushed off the attacks as “fake news,” and refused to participate in nearly all presidential debates. (Sound familiar?)

At a rally in Las Piñas, Ella Mae Alipao, 15, said that she got most of her news about Mr. Marcos from TikTok and Facebook, and that she did not “believe much in books.” After Mr. Marcos’s father was ousted, Ms. Alipao said, “the Filipinos found out how good he was; that’s when they realized that they should have made him president for a longer time.”

Mr. Marcos has made similar comments: “I’m not going to vindicate my father’s name because his name doesn’t need vindication,” he said in 1995. “I am so confident that history will judge him well.”

The current dictator calling himself ‘president’ is Rodrigo Duterte, a cruel person who has been linked to more than 1,400 ‘extrajudicial’ killings, as well as many other acts against humanitarian values.  That young lady’s statement above speaks volumes, shows us what happens when true history is withheld or whitewashed.  Are we headed down that same path?

A Spectre to be Exorcised (Communal Violence)

Once again, as he does so well, Roger is making us think, ponder, question. I find that our friends across the pond sometimes see our situation more clearly than we can … that old maxim about “can’t see the forest for the trees” I suppose. Roger is a history buff, and has a talent for applying the lessons of history to current day situations. Where is our nation to go from this point? Take a look and see. Anyway, thank you Roger for your thought-provoking words!

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

Foreword

This post has to be long. Histories have to be considered. Social tides and trends examined. That most troublesome of all factors Human Nature faced. It is hoped you find this grim reading, but not sensationalist. This is a precursor for you to discuss in your homes, your blogs, your meeting places. These words are based on histories of communal violence throughout the world. Including the USA. I have tried to be apolitical, most of the time. It is not always possible. Blame has to be laid in places.

Introduction

The present view that so politically polarised the USA has become, a civil war could take place has moved from blog site discussion onto the mainstream where more sober assessments are. For example:

Brookings in the following assessment of September 2021 concluded there was a sizeable proportion of the USA population who were of this mindset:

Is the US…

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Jolly Monday Is Baaaaaaaaaacccccckkkk!

Good Monday morning (is that an oxymoron, or what?) my friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and got to do something fun.  Since last Thursday was el Cinco de Mayo, Joyful cooked up a whole bunch of yummy Mexican dishes and she made sure to cook enough for our Jolly Monday snack table, too!  So, dig in and then we’ll see if we can find something to start this week with a smile!

  I’ll take some chips with guacamole and some churros please, Joyful!


We apologize for skipping out on Jolly Monday last week … Jolly had found some great ‘toons, but Joyful and I just didn’t feel quite up to par, couldn’t seem to get our game on.  So, this week lets jump straight into some ‘toons, shall we?

s

Since you all love the Pickles comic strip, we culled a few of the best from the past week or two …


And a few fun memes …


Just for laughs, we found a few funny signs …

WHOA!!! Rather a mixed bag, don’t you think?


And naturally, we must finish Jolly Monday with a cute critter video!  I first thought this one was about a baby kangaroo, but turns out it’s a puppy born with no front legs.  You will fall in love with this resilient little guy, aptly named Joey!


Well, friends, it’s time to plunge into yet another week of … who-knows-what!  I hope you can carry the smiles I see on your gorgeous faces with you for the entire week!  But, in case you can’t, there will be a basket of smiles at the door for you to replenish your own and take a few extras to share with people who seem to need one this week!  Have a safe and happy week ahead, dear friends.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly and Joyful!

I Thought We Were Better …

In countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and many others, one man or group of men (it’s always men, never women) control the people, their actions & behaviours.  But in a democracy, a true democracy, it is the voice of the majority that determines the laws of the land.  The United States was founded as a Democratic Republic, which is somewhat different than a pure democracy.  In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected. In a democratic republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority as well as those of the majority.

Today in the United States, it is the will of the minority that is trampling all over the rights of the majority.  The majority of people (60%) in the U.S. are for stricter gun regulations, yet there is no movement in this direction.  The majority of people (54%, with only 28% wishing to overturn it, with 18% who don’t care one way or the other) are in favour of maintaining Roe v Wade, supporting women’s rights, yet the Supreme Court is fully poised to overturn Roe.  The majority of the people (66%) in this country support Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ program to help people who were financially affected by the pandemic, yet Congress trashed it.  70% of all voters were in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last year, yet Congress also trashed both of those.  So … we can only conclude that the minority is dominating the majority and that is NOT in keeping with ANY form of democratic principles!

A few weeks ago, I reblogged Brosephus’ post titled America Is Dead.  At the time, I qualified my view of it, saying that I still had hope for this nation to rebound and that I would continue fighting with renewed resolve to restore the rights and will of the people – the majority of the people.  But yet again, I am discouraged, for it seems that the people in this nation today are so divided that there is no longer a UNITED States of America, but that we should change the name to the DIVIDED States of America.  In truth, it is almost as if there are two completely separate sub-species of humans living here.  We laud Abraham Lincoln for ending the Civil War, for bringing the nation back under one umbrella, but today we are as divided as we were in the 19th century.

Our friend Keith, who is among the most reasonable men I know, suggests we do more to open the lines of communications between the two sides, initiating dialogue, calmly asking those with opinions different from our own why they think as they do, and finding common ground, areas where we can compromise.  I agree with Keith’s premise, but is there so much as a square inch of common ground remaining these days?  It seems to me that the common ground was the first casualty of the great divide.  My concern is that there will be many more casualties of that great divide in the future.

Every day it seems that more and more schools and communities are banning certain books, even classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, or To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  WHY?  I first heard the claim that such books made white children ‘feel bad’ about how Blacks were treated back in the day, but of late, it is said that the books are being banned because they make Black children feel bad about themselves.  Either one is naught but an excuse for the reality which is that white supremacists do not want the next generation to be taught about the racism that has been a part of this country since before its founding.  Do they honestly think the children won’t learn about it anyway?  Isn’t it far better to have a compassionate teacher explain what happened, why it was wrong, and how we have worked throughout the past century to rectify it?  How can you simply cut a piece of history out of the history books?  How will they explain what Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Malcom X and others were fighting for when those who are children today reach high school and college?  So, I argue that books cannot be banned in schools and libraries, except perhaps books like Fifty Shades of Grey.

But my voice is not heard, more books are being banned daily, and if I were independently wealthy, I would mail a copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman to every child under the age of 12 in the nation.  Maus is a nonfiction graphic novel that depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, yet the book is banned in a number of places.  Are we also, in addition to trying to erase our racist past, trying to erase the Holocaust, or anti-Semitism, or even World War II???  Are people really so narrow-minded that they believe our children won’t learn these things, one way or another.  And even more to the point, do they seek a return to those things such as extreme racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and violence against any who don’t fit into their own views?  For that is exactly where we are headed if we hide the reality of the past from the next generation.  It’s almost as if some have looked at the steps forward of the past 50-70 years and decided it was too much, that they wanted a ‘reset’ button to take them … take us all … back to the 1950s, the days of Happy Days television show, the days of segregated diners, segregated schools, and school prayer forced upon every child.

America’s claim to fame has been that it was a nation of immigrants, a diverse nation, but today it seems we want to erase that, to become a homogeneous country where everyone thinks, looks, and acts exactly the same.  How terrible, how boring, and how surreal that would be.

Those who wish for more, rather than fewer civil rights, who wish to keep Roe, Obergefell, Brown, and other Court rulings that have given rights to those who were once without, are not trying to force their way on others.  For example, and I’ve said this many times, if you don’t believe that abortion is right, then you are free not to have an abortion!  If you do not like same-sex marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex!  Nobody, but nobody is forcing anyone to have an abortion or marry someone of their same gender.  But it is those with narrow minds and shallow views who would force the rest of us into their very small, dark box.  I don’t wish to live in that small, dark, terrible box, nor would I wish it on anyone else.

I thought we were better than this.  Obviously, I was wrong.