As I take a quick glance through the news, here are just a few of the stories I see …

  • Bill would ban use of certain personal pronouns in ND. The bill has since been rejected, but it would have allowed fines of up to $1,500 for a trans person referring to themselves or others with gender pronouns different from the ones they were assigned at birth.
  • Indiana GOP Introduces Two “Don’t Say Gay” Bills. These bills would prohibit all Indiana schools and their third-party vendors from providing any instruction in kindergarten through third grades with the intent to “study, explore, or inform” students about six topics: gender fluidity, gender roles, gender stereotypes, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
  • Illinois Judge Blocks Ban On Sales Of Assault Weapons. An Illinois state judge temporarily blocked the state’s assault weapons ban, signed into law on January 10th, that would prohibit the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and parts that convert handguns into assault weapons.
  • FL Defends Ban On African-American History Course. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempts to justify his ban on the teaching of African-American history.
  • TX Youth Pastor Arrested In Mass Sex Trafficking Bust. Self-explanatory
  • AZ Senate Advances Anti-Trans Pronouns School Bill. More of the same.
  • WI Catholic School Teacher Gets 6 Years For Child Sex. Self-explanatory

And there’s more, but you get the picture.  More and more with each passing week, I wonder what kind of world we are living in.  How did we get to this point where guns are more highly valued than humans, where skin colour and gender identity matter more than intelligence or compassion, where sexual abuse by those in the most trusted positions is now the norm?

America, the land of opportunity, land of freedom, a nation that opens its arms to refugees in need of a new homeland.  The country where, as I was often told when I was a child, you can be anything you want if you work hard.  A land of justice and equality.  I have trouble equating that land to the one I see today.  Was that ever the reality, or was it always a myth?

As children, my generation were told so many lies … we were taught that the first European settlers made nice with the Indigenous People, when the fact is those settlers committed genocide against them.  And today?  There is a growing movement to hide the facts from the days of slavery, and later Jim Crow, where in one sense Black people were still enslaved.  We manufacture lethal weapons by the thousands, even ones made especially for children.  We teach our children to hate, and label it ‘Christianity.’ We hide the reality that not everyone is exactly the same. We build walls to keep people out, rather than bridges to welcome them.

Lee Greenwood famously sang a song, Proud to be an American.  Once upon a time, I would have agreed, but not today.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Today’s snarky snippets are a bit different than usual, focusing on some who have earned kudos or a thumb-up for their actions, for their courage and integrity.

A man with integrity in Colorado

The Republican Party of today is not known for its truth-telling, not known for its integrity, and not known for its democratic principles.  It is, rather, known for its bigotry, its devotion to wealth and the wealthy, and its obstruction of anything that would benefit the people of this nation.  There are, however, a few exceptions.  Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are two of those notable exceptions, however both have paid a high price for ‘doing the right thing’.  Out in Colorado, though, there is another:  State Senator Kevin Priola.

Priola is resigning from the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat, citing the party’s complicity in the Jan. 6 insurrection and 2020 election denial as the reason …

“I cannot continue to be a part of a political party that is okay with a violent attempt to overturn a free and fair election and continues to peddle claims that the 2020 election was stolen.”

He also cited his party’s lack of action on climate change, saying his GOP colleagues “consistently and proudly seek to impede progress … and I can’t, in good conscience, be silent about that.”

Often when I speak of the Republican Party, I wonder whether there is any limit to how low they are willing to stoop, any line in the sand they won’t cross.  For most, I believe there is no valley so low they wouldn’t slide into it, no line in the sand, but it gives me hope seeing that there are still a few out there who put country before party, who have integrity and aren’t afraid to stand by their convictions.  I don’t often agree with them on policy issues, but I give them a big thumb up for their values, for what they are trying to accomplish, for not falling prey to the evil that has become the Republican Party today.

Dr. Fauci … we will miss you!

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, announced that he will leave his position at the end of this year.  I don’t blame him one bit … he has been vilified, he and his family have received death threats, and for what?  Because he is a man of integrity, because he told the truth when others attempted to sweep it under the carpet.

In early 2020 when the pandemic first hit, half of this nation might have been wiped out were it not for the voice of Dr. Fauci.  He cautioned, he warned, he urged protocols, he informed, while the person sitting in the Oval Office pooh-poohed his cautionary speech and told the people of this country not to worry, that COVID-19 would only affect a handful of people and it would be gone in a matter of a few days.  He eschewed precautions such as mask-wearing, business & school closings, and social distancing – the very things Dr. Fauci was urging.

I think Dr. Fauci deserves the Medal of Honour for not only his hard work to try to keep us safe and alive, but for putting up with the bullshit he has had to put up with from the under-educated masses who preferred to believe a proven liar to a scientist.  Says Dr. Fauci …

“While I am moving on from my current position, I am not retiring. After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field. I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.”

COVID cases and deaths are on the rise again, and next year we won’t have the cool-headed wisdom of Dr. Anthony Fauci.  He leaves some mighty big shoes to fill.

Public safety = political suicide

U.S. Representative Chris Jacobs took a brave stance last May when he made the public statement that he would support a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as raising the age to buy certain weapons to 21.  What simply sounds like common sense to many of us, was like a tidal wave to his New York constituency as well as the Republican Party in general.  Shortly after making the announcement, Jacobs said in a conversation with a Republican leader …

“I think I just committed political suicide.”

Officials who had endorsed Jacobs swiftly withdrew their support. Gun rights groups accused him of betrayal. Don Junior said Jacobs had “caved to the gun-grabbers.” A week after his news conference, Jacobs announced that he would not seek reelection.

Jacobs said the mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo in May were the driving factors in his decision.  He and his family were about one mile from the Tops supermarket in Buffalo when that shooting took place.  Jacobs, 55, represents an increasingly rare brand of politician — moderate in ideology and willing to change his mind. He criticized both parties for enforcing conformity in their ranks.

Like Liz Cheney and others, I cannot agree with many of Mr. Jacobs’ policy votes, but I honour him for having the courage of his convictions, the courage to put our lives ahead of the profits of the gun industry, which is what it all boils down to.  But think about this for a minute … if the people in the Republican Party who actually own a conscience are leaving, either by their own will or by being forced from office, what kind of GOP does that leave us with next year?  After the past two years since Greene, Boebert and others wormed their way into the U.S. Congress, I thought it had hit rock bottom … couldn’t get any worse.  But now, with the more level-headed, conscionable members leaving … oh yeah, my friends, it can get one hell of a lot worse!

Reset the clock… Again

Since I find myself wandering in the depths of the rabbit warren today, I’ve decided to share Brosephus’ post of two days ago. I actually meant to share it before now, but … the best laid plans of mice and women. As I have this week, Brosephus is weighing in on the latest mass shooting, and his words come from a very personal perspective, for he has literally “been there”. Thanks, Bro, for this heartfelt post.

The Mind of Brosephus

1. Mass shooting.

2. Sadness and grief.

3. Thoughts and prayers.

4. NRA fearmongering.

5. Nothing.

6. Repeat steps 1-5.

It’s not like we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s not like we don’t know it will happen again. The only thing we can’t pinpoint is the exact time and location of the next mass shooting. America has a gun problem, and we are like the world’s crackhead when it comes to gun violence. We have people who refuse to acknowledge we have a fatal addiction that kills, and that refusal is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.

This particular topic is personal for a number of reasons. First, I’ve been at places where someone decided to shoot, one time even being close enough to the shooter to know he was shooting a revolver and seeing the sparks coming from the barrel. I’ve seen a person with…

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After his death, a second amendment supporter, leaves a message on gun violence

Most of us who call for stricter gun laws are not gun owners, so when a gun owner, supporter of the 2nd Amendment speaks out and calls for stricter gun legislation, it speaks loudly. Please take a moment to read this editorial by the late Larry Swenberg, a gun owner who, prior to his death, called for a ban on assault weapons. Thank you, Keith, for sharing this with us.


The following posthumous editorial appeared in The Charlotte Observer on August 6, 2019. It speaks for itself.

“Larry Swenberg died of ALS this spring, a few months before gunmen killed 29 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Swenberg, a retired doctor of veterinary medicine in Durham, was a gun owner and avid hunter, but he was horrified at mass shootings inflicted by assault-style weapons. His wife, Gwen, sent us this op-ed from her husband last week, before Dayton and El Paso. One of his last wishes, she said, was to leave a message for his fellow Second Amendment supporters — and all of us.:

I am a 73 year-old retired doctor of veterinary medicine and a political independent who is neither a politician nor a Washington insider, but a citizen pleading to stop the carnage of assault weapons. I am a former hunter, recreational shooter, current gun owner…

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Six Days …

Six days.  It only took six days after a gunman opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand, killing at least 50 people, before the government took action and banned assault-type weapons that were never meant for civilian use to begin with.  Yesterday, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a national ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, on parts that allow guns to be modified into such weapons, and on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

This, my friends, is how a true leader responds to a crisis.  This is the action of a leader who actually cares what happens to the people in the country she is tasked with leading.  This is a leader who puts people ahead of corporate greed and politics.  Every nation deserves such a leader.

Now, you might say, well, New Zealand doesn’t have the National Rifle Association (NRA) to contend with.  Well, yes and no.  New Zealand actually does have a National Rifle Association, but their function is entirely different than the one in the U.S.  The New Zealand NRA is the country’s governing body for the sport of long-range target shooting. It does not engage in political lobbying.  When Prime Minister Ardern announced the ban on semiautomatic weapons yesterday, the NRA-NZ responded positively and even noted that they are considering a name change to avoid being associated with the U.S. NRA.

In New Zealand, gun owners are subjected to rigorous background checks and requirements, and even after acquiring a license, gun owners in New Zealand continue to be subjected to scrutiny from the authorities.

“If your name comes up with a police or traffic complaint, that list gets looked at by the police firearms division. If it looks like your name is coming up more often, they’ll come and have a word with you.” – Ross Mason, Chairman NRA-NZ

Can you imagine the outrage among gun owners if this happened in the U.S.?  Or, can you imagine the reaction if it was suggested that gun owners voluntarily give up their firearms?  Within the first four days after the shootings, a number of gun owners had turned in their semiautomatic weapons.  One man, a farmer named John Hart, turned his rifle over to police, then tweeted …John Hart

Did you read that, folks?  “My convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.”  That should be a bumper sticker and we should hand them out with every gun purchase, every box of ammo …

I don’t know about you folks, but to me, this reaction all the way from the head of government down to the citizens, is a breath of fresh air.  This is the way it should be.  Consider this.  If a roller coaster at an amusement park derails and 30-40 people are killed or injured, all hell breaks loose.  The ride, or likely the entire park is shut down indefinitely.  The manufacturers of the ride are called in.  Safety experts and mechanics are called in to determine the cause.  If there is fault, fines are levied. And lawsuits are filed against the park and the ride’s manufacturer.  That ride will never operate again in all likelihood.  Why?  Because we place a high priority on human life.

But if a gunman goes on a spree in Las Vegas or a high school in Parkland, Florida, the nutters immediately come out ranting “don’t try to take our guns!” The NRA issues a statement before the dust even settles warning the sensible among us that this is “not the time” to mention gun regulation or gun safety.  A few days pass, the media move on to other things, and life returns to normal … until the next time.

Apparently, the NRA in the U.S. is not content to interfere and subvert any attempts at sensible gun safety legislation in the U.S., but have also stuck their nose into New Zealand’s business this week.  Former police minister and New Zealand National Party MP Judith Collins says that both she and the current police minister, Stuart Nash had begun receiving propaganda material from the U.S. NRA.  In the past, she said, when she sought to introduce gun law reforms during her two stints as police minister, she was inundated by material from the NRA in the U.S.

“They talked about how we were trying to take away their Second Amendment rights to own guns. We don’t have a right to bear arms. To own a gun in New Zealand is absolutely a privilege and not a right.”

Say WHAT???  By what right does the NRA here in the U.S. get off trying to change gun laws in a nation on the other side of the globe?  The NRA has gone beyond what is acceptable so many times in the past, but this one takes the cake.  Fortunately, New Zealanders have better sense that the average gun-lovin’ American, and Ms. Collins told them to …bugger off

I’ve said it all before, but it bears repeating.  The U.S. has the most lax gun laws, the most guns per capita (more guns than people, at approximately 400 million guns and only 330 million people), and the highest rate of deaths by guns than any other nation on earth.  It is past time for us to re-consider the 2nd Amendment that has cost the lives of more citizens of this nation than every war we’ve ever been involved in.  New Zealand certainly has the right idea, as do Australia and every other nation on the globe.  Yesterday I saw a New York Times’ OpEd piece titled, “America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern”.  I second that!

Two thumbs up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the good people of New Zealand for putting human lives ahead of corporate greed.