Mitch McConnell Likes Falling Bridges!

Throughout President Obama’s eight year tenure, one man stood out as the biggest hurdle to anything and everything Obama and his team proposed.  That man, of course, is the ignoble Mitch McConnell … the poster boy for why we need term limits.  McConnell’s power is far greater than it should be and when he pledges obstruction, you can count on him destroying everything in his path … even our lives.

Most recently, McConnell has pledged to do everything in his power to keep the infrastructure bill from seeing the light of day in the Senate.  Frank Bruni, writing for the New York Times, addresses the infrastructure bill and McConnell’s self-serving intended obstruction in his latest newsletter …


Mitch McConnell, Fickle Fiscal Prude

By Frank Bruni

Opinion Columnist

The numbers stagger me too.

President Biden is promoting more than $2 trillion for infrastructure (loosely defined). He signed legislation for $1.9 trillion for pandemic relief, economic stimulus and anti-poverty initiatives.

All of this comes after the Trump administration’s mammoth relief-and-stimulus spending in 2020, and all of this precedes what will almost certainly be yet more requests for additional trillions from the Biden administration.

We’re in uncharted waters. Experts offering assurances that all will be well — or even better than well — are giving us their best educated guesses. No one — not the cheerleaders, not the naysayers — truly knows how this will all turn out.

But here’s the thing: At some point you have to pick a path, choose a side, place your bet. In many instances the potential price of a flawed wager is almost certainly less steep than the cost of inaction. This instance, I think, is one of those. Maybe America will go too big in the end. But too small hasn’t worked for us.

Too small led to the economic dispossession and pessimism exploited by a junior-league demagogue and would-be despot who hurt this country gravely. Too small factored into our shameful and unsustainable degree of income inequality.

Too small was a culprit in America’s world-leading number of coronavirus infections and Covid-related deaths last year. By contrast, too big — or rather, big — was a partner in the speedy development and distribution of vaccines.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, has pledged to fight Biden’s infrastructure package “every step of the way,” as a sudden defender of fiscal discipline. I say “sudden” because his attachment to it over the past few years, before Biden took office, was as steady as a Slinky.

He was perfectly happy to run up the federal debt to stay in good with President Donald Trump, who wanted tax cuts and more gleaming military hardware. Now? We mustn’t leave crippling bills to our children and grandchildren! How horridly gluttonous! How downright immoral!

How utterly laughable. The truth about most politicians and spending is that they’re for it if the outlays bolster their electoral fortunes and against it if the other side may have more to gain. They’re not in thrall to some fixed economic ideology. They’re bound to partisan rivalries and enamored of ideological fashions of the moment.

Remember all of those fiscally principled Tea Party candidates who rocked the Republican Party and swarmed to Washington in 2010? That didn’t turn out to be any kind of revolution. Many of those candidates, along with most other Republicans, exiled their thriftiness when President Barack Obama exited the White House, then embraced Trump in all of his profligacy.

But back to infrastructure and Biden’s big-ticket legislation. Over recent decades of congressional sclerosis, America has fallen behind and imperiled its future prosperity. We’ve no choice but to catch up, and catching up, I believe, will cost more than McConnell is willing to agree to. It may cost even more than Biden is pitching.

Or not. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the choice is between overdoing and underdoing. That it’s that clear, that stark. I’d vote for overdoing. We haven’t tried that in a while.

And my read of the American mood right now is that people are frustrated with the status quo and the timidity of politicians too focused on one another to focus on everyone else. There’s a hankering for movement of some kind — of any kind. There’s an appetite for boldness. Let’s feed it.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 4/3

Once again, TokyoSand has found the best selection of political cartoons from the hundreds out there.  This week’s biggest topics have been Matt Gaetz (who, in my book, deserves to be consigned to the annals of idiocy and forgotten), the trial of Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered George Floyd, and the horrendous voter suppression bill signed into law in Georgia by Governor Kemp.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work putting these weekly cartoon posts together!

See All The ‘Toons!

Humanity is still a thing

Reading the news every day, it’s easy to believe that simple humanity has been lost in the great web greed, politics, corruption, bigotry and more. But, as blogging buddy Owen reminds us … Humanity Is Still A Thing. Thank you, Owen, for the timely reminder.

R2030 - In hope of a better decade

It is time to write something positive.

Today in Nantes, France, some young people rescued a family from a fire, showing great courage and putting their own lives at risk by scaling a building. The young peope who conducted the rescue were all migrants.

Migrant youths in Nantes, France, rescued a baby and parents from a deadly fire. (Image from connexionfrance.com)
Migrant youths in Nantes, France, rescued a baby and parents from a deadly fire.
(Image from connexionfrance.com)

The incident invokes memories of a news story from 2018, also in France, where a migrant in Paris scaled a building to rescue a small boy.

Mamoudou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, scaled four balconies of a building in Paris before pulling a child to safety.
Mamoudou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, scaled four balconies of a building in Paris before pulling a child to safety.
(Image from New York Times via You Tube)

These stuning moments of humanity tell us something profound; that we are human before we are a skin colour. We are human before we are a passport holder. We are human before we…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Wesley Hamilton

Sorry this post is late … I was so exhausted last night that I thought I had put it on the schedule for 3:00 a.m., but turns out it was still in draft!


Wesley Hamilton was only 24 years old when two bullets paralyzed him from the waist down.  On January 14, 2012, Hamilton got caught up in an altercation with a stranger outside an apartment complex. The man shot Hamilton twice in his abdomen.  When the bullets pierced his body, he thought he was going to die.

“I laid on that ground taking my last breaths, having regrets about life, because it wasn’t until that moment that I realized I had never lived.”

Hamilton survived, suffering a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. At 24, he became “a single father in a wheelchair,” he said — adjusting to a new life faced with new challenges.

“I felt hopeless and useless.  It defeated me.”

A year later, Hamilton was diagnosed with a pressure ulcer on his tailbone from the extended hours of sitting. He underwent six surgeries and spent the next two years confined to bed rest.

In the years following his injury, Hamilton said he became dangerously overweight, depressed and suicidal.

It was his daughter, Navaeh, who ultimately became his lifeline.

“I was determined to be a better person and a better father. My love for her is greater than she’ll ever know. And that love inspired me to … take control of my life.”

w-hamilton-daughterHe enrolled in community college and took a nutrition course. He started a healthy eating regimen and took up weightlifting. He lost 100 pounds within a year.

For Hamilton, it was only the beginning. He became an award-winning adaptive athlete and eventually a certified adaptive CrossFit instructor. Through his journey, Hamilton realized he wanted to help other people with disabilities regain their livelihood.

Since 2017, his non-profit, Disabled But Not Really, has empowered dozens of people through adaptive physical training and nutrition coaching — helping them take their health back into their own hands and rise above their limitations.

w-hamilton-2Hamilton developed an eight-week fitness program, and before the pandemic hit, participants would meet for one-hour group sessions twice a week as well as nutrition seminars.

When group classes were suspended because of Covid-19, Hamilton said he was committed to continuing to serve and support his program participants through private training sessions.

“People deserve to know they are more than their circumstances. My purpose is to inspire. And it’s to show people what happiness really looks like despite the adversity that you have to face.”

Mr. Hamilton was recently interviewed by CNN’s Laura Klairmont … what follows is a portion of that interview:

CNN: How has your organization pivoted programming in response to the pandemic and what are your future plans?

Wesley Hamilton: Just like so many other organizations, we had to change our whole way that we create an impact. (We) also want to make sure that everybody is safe during these uncertain times.

We understood the lack of access to fitness centers. So, I made my garage into a gym. I host a 12-week program that is personal training two days a week, as well as nutritional information seminars that we provide to help those athletes become a better version of themselves and have an overall better quality of life.

I believe our work is very important right now during Covid, because we are targeting a community of people that are at high-risk of so many things that our organization provides information and education for — fitness and nutrition.

With all of these changes happening, we want to continually be innovative. We want to go out to the community. We’re launching a mobile trailer gym. It’s our way of really making sure that everybody gets the same access. And our end goal is our own fitness center for people with disabilities.

CNN: What are some of the everyday obstacles that people with disabilities face?

Hamilton: One thing that’s not talked about a lot is why people with disabilities aren’t really seen in society. The disabled community is very isolated because of the lack of accessibility we have to face in any facility or business — grocery stores to gyms, stairs to elevators, car issues. The world is … just not really built for accessibility.

It breaks you. It brings you down on a level that you don’t feel accepted in a world that is supposed to accept everybody. More people will feel comfortable at home than trying to go out into a world that makes you very, very uncomfortable. (And) you have to deal with the way people look at you, and that’s debilitating in itself.

Most of the time I didn’t want to get out until I realized that I had to to raise awareness for what was needing to be changed. Ninety percent of my day, I face obstacles. Facilities should be mindful enough to make sure that they have a universal design that speaks to everybody. Systems that are in place actually need to be rewritten. No one should feel alienated. It’s the reason why I felt the need to create my organization. Innovation has to start somewhere. And certain facilities just need to see you there. Once you start to create that and bring people around that are different, we start to think of ideas to make everyone be accepted in one place.

CNN: You’re not only helping those you work with get physically fit. How do you support them on a deeper level?

Hamilton: My main goal is to teach people how to take control of their life — take full accountability and embrace your reality despite the circumstances that you face. When we go through our program, it’s only the beginning. I want to be there through your whole journey because I want to see you successful. Even though our training looks just like normal gym strength and conditioning, it’s really reshaping the things that you can do in life.

We make sure that we are attacking the mindset as well as tackling the physical aspect of the person we’re helping. Allowing them to be vulnerable, to talk about their challenges, allows us to help them, and it gives them peace and makes their day more successful.

I’m bringing people of all sorts together to be empowered by one another. It’s a community of people that are different, but together we are the same. I believe that people everywhere that are differently abled should experience that.

Mr. Hamilton is living proof that being confined to a wheelchair doesn’t have to mean the end of life, but in fact can be a new beginning.  How many people has he helped to find out who they are, to learn to live a full life despite their disabilities?  Perhaps we’ll never know, but more than a few I’d be willing to bet.  This is truly a case of turning adversity into strength … and helping others do the same.

A Real President Speaks

Last night, President Joe Biden gave a televised speech marking the one-year anniversary of the week the pandemic brought much of the United States to a screeching halt.   Rarely do I watch presidential speeches, typically preferring to read the transcript later, but I made an exception last night, for I wanted to see this one for myself.  I’m glad I did.

It was so wonderful to see a president who both spoke and acted like a President, who articulated and spoke in whole sentences without rancor.  His message was positive, but cautiously so.  There was no braggadocio, no ranting, no finger pointing or facial contortions, no hateful rhetoric, no self-promotion … just a man with a message of hope.

I don’t wish to dwell on the comparisons of the former guy’s speeches to Biden’s speech last night, but the contrast was so stark that one cannot help but note a few differences.  Biden’s tone was even, but not without passion.  Not once did he point a finger of blame at any person or group, not once did he raise his voice or make a Nazi-style fist.  And, perhaps most importantly, he did not say that he alone could fix this, but instead he said …

“I will not relent until we beat this virus. But I need you, the American people. I need you. I need every American to do their part.”

This, my friends, is how a real president acts and speaks.  This is what we have missed so badly for the past four years.

Midway through his first 100 days in office, Biden might have been tempted to use his first nationally televised speech merely to take a modest victory lap over the passage of the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that he signed into law earlier on Thursday, but he did not.  Instead, mixing empathy with hard realities, he provided a blueprint for returning the country to some sense of normalcy by summer, while appealing to all Americans to help him make it happen.  He did not sugar-coat our situation, but his message was one of hope.

President Biden’s approval rating stands today at 53.1% … one that eluded the former guy for his entire four years during which he never once even reached a 50% approval.  We now have a president … let’s hope Congress can find a way to work with him for the sake of this nation and We the People.

In case you missed the speech, The Washington Post has provided a full transcript.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 3/6

I thought perhaps some of the political cartoonists would be standing in the unemployment line once the former guy left and peace was once again restored to the nation.  But, I couldn’t have been more wrong!  The Republicans are keeping the cartoonists just as busy as ever with their horrible attempts to stifle voters’ voices, disregard the pandemic, and more.  Thanks to TokyoSand, we can see the best of the lot all in one place!

toon-1toon-2toon-4toon-5

See All The ‘Toons!

“United” States??? What A Joke!

Are you as sick and damn tired as I am of the constant criticism of members of the Republican Party toward anything and everything that wasn’t their own idea, of anything that promotes common sense and racial equality?  They claim to want unity, but then they act as if they are the only ones whose opinions or ideas have a shred of value.  Frankly, I’m sick of it, sick of the blatant racism, homophobia, and utter stupidity.  On Tuesday, Texas Governor Abbot announced that there would be no more mask mandate and that businesses in Texas could now re-open.  On Wednesday, Mississippi followed suit, eliminating all pandemic-related restrictions.

Both states will pay a heavy price for these decisions, for the pandemic is far from over, not even under control.  Abbott claimed he had consulted with doctors about his decision, but the doctors deny his claim and say it was the wrong decision.  There isn’t a shred of doubt that these two states will see a rise in the number of cases and deaths before the end of the month.  President Biden responded …

“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now, these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms. The last thing — the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it.  It’s critical — critical, critical, critical — that they follow the science: Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it.”

What he said was a hell of a lot nicer than what I said when I heard about Texas and Mississippi, but of course the damn fools on the right had to jump on what he said.  Senator Marco Rubio from Florida claimed Biden should seek “training on unconscious bias”WHAT BIAS, Marco?  Facts are facts!  It was neanderthal thinking … worse yet, it was lunacy.  And picking a fight over this is … or should be … beneath the dignity of elected lawmakers who have a job to do and don’t need to be wasting their time and our money nitpicking every word out of the president’s mouth!  Especially given that they supported the former guy who never uttered a sincere or kind word in 4 years!

But, there is an even more serious issue on which congressional republicans are determined to fight.  The issue is HR1, aka For the People Act, a bill that primarily deals with anti-corruption and voting reform.  The bill passed on Wednesday night in the House and now moves on to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle, especially among … yep, you got it, Republicans.

HR1 is not actually a new bill … it was passed by the House in 2019, but like most every other bill during the reign of Mitch McConnell, it sat gathering dust as he refused to even open it for discussion.  A few of the key components of the bill are …

  • Instituting nonpartisan redistricting commissions to end partisan gerrymandering
  • Creating a national system for automatic voter registration
  • Putting in transparency requirements for political advertising

When the bill was first introduced back in 2019, it had broad public support.  It might have even passed in the Senate, had Mr. McConnell allowed it to see the light of day.  Today, the criticisms of the bill are infuriatingly false.  For example, a recent Facebook post claims the Act will “permanently destroy voting in America.”  My my my … what drama queens they are!  Actually, the Act would make it easier for people to vote by mail, which would benefit us all, but especially the poor and minorities who often have difficulty getting to the polling places in time.  It would require states to implement automatic and same-day voter registration.  In short … it would allow every eligible voter to vote!!!  What the Sam Hell is so hard to understand.

The Facebook post makes alarmist claims, such as that murderers will be allowed to vote, and broad generalizations suggesting that the bill will lead to regulation of freedom of speech. While the post doesn’t use the phrase “voter fraud”, it leaves readers with the misleading impression that the bill aims to weaken election security. The bill actually includes provisions to increase security through grants and cybersecurity improvements.

43 states currently have some 250+ bills on their dockets that would restrict voting rights, make it far more difficult for people, especially those who happen to not have white skin, to vote.  WHAT the hell is fair about that?  Oh, Black people are supposed to work hard, pay their taxes, but not be allowed a voice in how those taxes are spent?  And you call this liberty???

The crux of the matter is this:  The Republican Party is in the minority, is not particularly popular with people who use their brains to think instead of playing silly putty with them, and the only damn way they can win in some areas is if they can repress the vote.  So, they criticize, they lie, they cheat, and they steal!

Mike Pence, for whom I actually had a bit of empathy after his life was nearly taken and still he proceeded to do the right thing, certifying the electoral vote on January 6th, has written an opinion piece in The Signal, a far right-wing publication, where he claims …

“After an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election.”

WHOA … let’s stop right there for a minute!  After 60+ lawsuits where not a shred of evidence was provided to support the former guy’s claim of election fraud, this statement by Pence should have caused his nose to grow by at least an inch!

“Congressional districts would be redrawn by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. Illegal immigrants and law-abiding American citizens would receive equal representation in Congress. Felons would be able to vote the moment they set foot out of prison.”

Yeah … so … your point, Mikey, is what???  I don’t want elected bureaucrats drawing district maps … I want independent, non-partisan people drawing them so we don’t see maps that make no sense other than to cram minorities into as few districts as possible.  There is no such thing as an “illegal” immigrant!  If an immigrant is working and paying taxes in this country he/she ought to be able to have a voice.  And why do you think released felons ought not to be allowed to vote?  They are citizens.  They work and pay taxes once they are released.  WHY the hell do you think they ought not to have a say???  BIGOT!  Next, you can look for Pence, who is a blatant homophobe, to try to take away the LGBT community’s right to vote!

Okay, enough about what Mike Pence and the rest of the bigots in the Republican Party have to say, for my blood pressure is already somewhere up in the stratosphere. Does HR1 stand a snowball’s chance in hell of passing in the Senate?  The short answer is ‘no’, for in order to avoid a filibuster it would require a 60-vote majority … and it’s already obvious that not more than maybe one republican will vote for it.  There is a path … a very narrow path … if the senate democrats are committed enough to it, then they can partially amend Senate filibuster rules to allow democracy reform legislation like HR1 to advance on a simple majority vote and therefore potentially be able to pass on a party-line vote. That would be different from fully blowing up the filibuster, but it still could get pushback from Senate institutionalists even in the Democratic Party like Senator Joe Manchin, a staunch advocate of keeping the filibuster in place, though I have no idea why.

If HR1 fails, then the 43 states who are trying so hard to rob us of our voice in the government we support financially will likely succeed and this will no longer be a nation I can bear to live in.  If every single person, regardless of skin colour, ethnicity, gender identification, or religion cannot vote, then what’s the point in even holding elections?  Perhaps it’s time to admit that this is by no stretch of the imagination the “United” States?

Wise Words From A Wise Man

Last night, I read Nicholas Kristof’s column from yesterday, an open letter to his conservative friends.  While he is kinder and more forgiving than I am, I do agree with most of what he says, so I’ve decided to share his letter here with you.  Mr. Kristof has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as numerous other honours far too numerous to list here.


A Letter to My Conservative Friends

Hold us accountable, but please do the same for the charlatans who deceive you, use you and cheat you.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

  • Jan. 27, 2021

AMHILL, Ore. — This is an open letter to some of my old friends and neighbors who believe that Donald Trump won re-election, who think that face masks are for wimps and who fear that Democrats are plotting to seize their freedom.

Dear friends and neighbors,

Relax! We liberals aren’t plotting to round you up in “re-education camps.”

I was horrified when a couple of old friends here asked if they were in danger for having supported Donald Trump. I gently told them that they were in no peril — and I was stung that they felt greatly relieved to hear it.

Yes, I know that Fox News is peddling nonsense about Democrats setting up re-education camps, and that a Wall Street Journal column asked, “If you were an enthusiastic Donald Trump supporter, are you ready to enter a re-education program?”

Folks, you’re being played. Again.

These are some of the same charlatans who argued last year that, as Fox News put it, the coronavirus is “just like the flu” and that mask mandates are a step toward “tyranny.” More than 400,000 coronavirus deaths later, some people are dead because they believed that drivel.

Then there’s the rubbish about the election. This month, just days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, a childhood friend told me confidently that Trump would swoop in to serve a second term. When I told him he was wrong, he was astonished that I could be so poorly informed, and he helpfully advised, “Don’t pay attention to those liars in the mainstream media.”

You’ve been hoodwinked, exploited and manipulated by con artists waving flags, casting lies and monetizing bigotry. Steve Bannon, who suggested beheading Dr. Anthony Fauci, defrauded Trump supporters into donating to build a border wall and then used some of the money for himself, according to a federal indictment.

Here on our family farm, we received a direct mail appeal warning about “Islam in Yamhill Schools” and pleading for donations to protect Christianity. No, that isn’t about conservative values, but about spreading hate and hysteria while grabbing at your wallet.

So let’s give America a chance to heal. And, as I told my worried friends, don’t hesitate to stand up for your conservative values. We need Republicans! America benefits from a loyal opposition.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week called for trying harder to keep schools open. On that issue, Republicans have been more right than many Democrats.

But half a century ago we didn’t need the racist George Wallace wing of the Democratic Party, and today we don’t need the wing of the Republican Party that embraces conspiracy theories and winks at violence.

The grand question: Without that wing of today’s G.O.P., what’s left?

One glimpse of the conundrum: The G.O.P. representation in Congress is losing Rob Portman, a widely respected senator who announced he will step down, and just gained Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, an extremist who in 2019 endorsed the idea of shooting Nancy Pelosi in the head. When a party loses a statesman and gains a kook, that’s a bad omen.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii G.O.P. this week recommended the “high quality” commentary … of a Holocaust denier. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned on Fox News that Democrats are trying to “exterminate the Republicans.” Sure, Democrats sometimes say and do dumb things, too, but there’s no symmetry.

As I see it, the last, best hope is twofold. First, Republican leaders must learn that extremism is a losing strategy. Only one G.O.P. candidate for president has won the popular vote in the last three decades, and the loony Arizona Republican Party has lost about 10,000 members since the riot in the U.S. Capitol and its censure of party elders like Cindy McCain. If Trump is further discredited through prosecutions or scandals, it is possible (though far from certain) that his malign influence on the party will diminish.

Second, to dampen that extremism, advertisers should stop supporting networks that spread lies and hatred, and cable companies should drop channels that persist in doing so. As a start, don’t force people to subsidize Fox News by including it in basic packages.

Is this a slippery slope? Yes, and it makes me queasy. But we all recognize that there are red lines: Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan grand wizards have First Amendment rights, but we shouldn’t pay to give them microphones, nor should commentators on the left or the right get megaphones to promote violence. Extremists enjoy free speech but shouldn’t be buttressed by advertisers or our cable fees.

So, conservative friends, fear not: We’re not plotting to lock you up in detention camps. We need you to keep us honest. But you’ve been scammed in ways that have hurt the country we all love. Hold us accountable, but please do the same for the charlatans who deceive you, use you and cheat you.

Some Positive Signs …

Okay, friends … Joe Biden has been in office for less than 48 hours, and already I see positive signs coming from the White House.  Let’s look at a couple …


Once again, science matters

Joe Biden promised to listen to the scientists and the experts, unlike his predecessor, and he is doing just that.  First off, he offered Dr. Anthony Fauci the position of Chief Medical Advisor, which Fauci gladly accepted.  It is encouraging to hear Dr. Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease specialist, say …

“One of the new things in this administration is, if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess.  Just say you don’t know the answer. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know and what the science is … it is something of a liberating feeling.”

Yesterday morning, Dr. Fauci spoke to the executive board of the World Health Organization, and was able to tell them that the United States would not be following through with Mr. Trump’s demand to leave the group in the middle of a pandemic.  I, for one, breathe a sigh of relief for that one.

Isn’t it grand to know that our president doesn’t think he’s such a stable genius that he knows everything about … well, everything?  We can trust that President Biden will listen to the scientists, the experts, on such things as the pandemic and climate change.


And speaking of the pandemic …

President Biden unveiled his national strategy to conquer the pandemic, to save our lives.  If this sort of action had been taken a year ago, hundreds of thousands of lives almost certainly would have been saved.

The orders included new requirements for masks on interstate planes, trains and buses, as well as in all federal facilities.  I guess this means you, too, members of Congress!  He also calls for the creation of a national testing board and mandatory quarantines for international travelers arriving in the United States.

But Biden pulled no punches, he was brutally honest (oh isn’t that so refreshing?) when he admitted, “The brutal truth is it’s going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated,” and when he said that US deaths from the pandemic will likely reach 500,000 by February.  Honesty.  From the president.  WOW!  Just WOW!


Transparency & truth … FINALLY!

Her name is Jen Psaki, pronounced SOCK-ee, and she is President Biden’s press secretary.  She is more than qualified for the job, having served in a number of communications positions in the Obama administration, including as a spokeswoman at the State Department, where she was comfortable delivering lengthy, policy-heavy briefings in a role often held by career foreign policy officials. And she was popular with Washington reporters.

She has already given her first press briefing, and while I only listened to a brief clip, the first few minutes, one word jumped out:  transparency.

“If the president were standing here with me today, he would say he works for the American people. I work for him, so I also work for the American people, but his objective and his commitment is to bring transparency and truth back to government, to share the truth, even when it’s hard to hear.”

It brings a tear to my eyes to hear the words ‘transparency’ and ‘truth’ spoken by the press secretary, after four years and five … or was it six? … different press secretaries all telling thousands of lies, accusing reporters of bias, or simply not communicating at all.


A short bit of a rant

I hate to sully an otherwise upbeat post with a min-rant, but I simply must vent a bit on this one …

I understand that ol’ Mitch McConnell has ‘suggested’ that the impeachment trial for Donald Trump be pushed back to February in order to give Trump time to prepare his defense.  I have only one question:  why should we be fair to the ‘man’ who put us through hell and caused us grief every single day for four solid years?  There can be no defense for the impeachment charge, the charge of inciting an attempted overthrow of a legitimate, fair, and honest election.

Oh sure, some high-priced lawyers will try to spin it, to put in in such a light that Trump’s words were not incitement.  But we all know better.  We all know that he had been planning that last-ditch attempt to silence the people of this nation and seize power as an authoritarian dictator for some time, and those people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th were his pawns, they were inspired to do his dirty work for him.  No, there can be no defense against what he did, so why wait?  Hold the trial now, convict him, and ensure that he can never again destroy this nation and our lives.

Donald Trump is guilty of treason, for he betrayed a sacred trust, broke his oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, and put this nation in grave jeopardy in more ways than one.  The charge of inciting violence is a mild one compared to what he could have legitimately been charged with.  He must be convicted on that charge, and as soon as possible in order for this nation to fully breathe easily again, in order for us to move on and begin to heal.

Life, Once Again, Goes On

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

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

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

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

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