Some Republicans Leaving The Trumptanic

Donald Trump is a frustrated ‘man’.  He thinks he should have won a Nobel Peace Prize, mainly because he is jealous that President Obama won one in 2009.  Only four U.S. presidents have ever won the Nobel Peace Prize, and Trump is about as far away from one as anybody I can imagine.

And then, there is the fact that his ugly mug will never be carved into the side of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, though he has long said he would like to see that happen.  He has illusions of grandeur that are just that … illusions.

And, of course, there is the fact that his poll numbers are tanking and the only way he’s going to win in November is “by hook or by crook”.  Even life-long republicans are stepping back from Trump.  The New York Times recently interviewed some republicans in swing states who enthusiastically voted for Trump in 2016 but either aren’t sure if they will this November or else are sure they won’t vote for Trump again.

Take, for example, Judith Goines of Fayetteville, North Carolina …

“I think if he weren’t such an appalling human being, he would make a great president, because I think what this country needs is somebody who isn’t a politician. But obviously with the coronavirus and the social unrest we’re dealing with, that’s where you need a politician, somebody with a little bit more couth. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve voted for him.”

Or Robert Kaplan of Racine, Wisconsin …

“He said he was going to, quote unquote, drain the swamp, and all he’s done is splashed around and rolled around in it.”

It appears that about 14% of those who voted for Trump in 2016 are less certain this time around.  6% say they don’t support Trump but say there’s “some chance” of voting for him again.  Some 2% claim not to support Trump, and don’t know if they will vote for him again.  Then there is the 6% who say there is “not really any chance” of supporting Trump.  The number of defectors is small, yes, and he still has a rabid base who will vote for him no matter what, but it is encouraging to see that some of those who voted for him last time are not so sure this time.

Many of those interviewed said they initially voted for him because he was a businessman, not a politician, and specifically because he was not Hillary Clinton.  But they largely say they have soured on his handling of the presidency. Several mentioned his divisive style and his firing of officials who disagreed with him, and especially his response to the coronavirus and to the unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The majority of them are not yet willing to commit to backing Joe Biden … that would be a stretch … but would likely just stay home on election day.  Take John Crilly, of Reeders, Pennsylvania, who voted not so much for Trump as against Clinton …

“What changed my mind? 120,000 deaths. He refused to realize, ‘Oh my god, there’s a virus coming our way; shouldn’t we do something, guys?’ Covid was the turning point. It’s the thing that touches home with everybody.”

Crilly says he cannot bring himself to vote for Biden, largely because of his age, but will write-in a local candidate’s name.  Then there’s Ariel Oakley of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who says she will vote for Joe Biden …

“With coronavirus, even just watching the press conferences, having him come out and say it’s all fake. I have family who have unfortunately passed away from it.”

Trump’s blatant racism in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder by police has cost him votes, as well.  Kelvin Pittman II of Jacksonville, Florida, is an African-American who voted for Trump in 2016, because “he was a great businessman.”  Pittman himself owns a small business and thought Trump would be the best option.  But now, in light of Trump’s response to Black Lives Matter protests and calling the movement a “symbol of hate” …

“It was kind of the last straw. It was like, this dude is just in it for himself. I thought he was supposed to be for the people.”

And others say it’s his personality that has turned them off.  I find this one confusing because his personality showed through loud and clear throughout his campaign in 2015-2016 … could they not see then that he was a bully when he told campaign workers to “beat up” protestors, and called his opponent at least 100 different ugly names?

The aforementioned Robert Kaplan, who voted for Trump mainly because he wanted ACA (Obamacare) abolished, says he was disappointed from the start …

“He’s an embarrassment. He’s like a little kid with a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get things to go his way. He’s very punitive — if you disagree, he fires you. He disrespects very good people in Washington trying to do some good. And I think it’s very disrespectful of the office to be tweeting all the time.”

The article in the Times is worth the read and has a number of polling charts showing what people like the least about Trump.  In all, I predict with 90% certainty that Trump will, once again, lose the popular vote.  However, my bigger concern at this point is the bag of tricks the GOP is using and will use to attempt an electoral win, but that is a topic for another day.  I’m just encouraged at the moment to see that some who voted for Trump last time have finally “seen the light”.


Don’t you just love it when you wake up grumpy?  Good thing I wrote Saturday Surprise last night, else it wouldn’t have been written.  So, how about I share my ill humour so you guys can be grumpy, too?

Personae non grata …

European Union (EU) officials have compiled a list of countries whose residents can visit the EU when it reopens its borders next week and guess what?  The U.S. is not on that list.  Nothing political about the decision, simply common sense.  The United States has failed to get a handle on the coronavirus, new cases are surging, and the EU doesn’t welcome us because of the high risk involved.  Russia and Brazil are also excluded.

Despite Mike Pence’s assurances that everything is under control, the daily new case tally keeps breaking records.  Yesterday’s new case total was 47,341 … nearly 50,000!  Until the past week or so, the death toll in the U.S. was over 1,000 people daily.  It has dropped slightly to around 600 per day, but it is only a matter of days before it is back in the thousand range.

Foolishly, Trump demanded that businesses re-open, even against the advice of the experts, and equally foolishly, the people of this nation felt their right to go out and have fun superseded safety.  This is the result … we are now banned from traveling to the EU, and if Boris Johnson & Co in the UK have any sense, we will also be banned from travel to the UK.  We have already been banned from traveling to Canada.  We are, essentially, stuck in this virus-infested, fool-driven nation with a clown running the show, a ship of fools controlling our well-being … or lack thereof.

And the real terrorists are …

A new study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) last week titled “Escalating Terrorism Problem in the United States”, determined that the problem of domestic terrorism in the U.S. is primarily from the far right.  The report says “the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of rightwing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years”, with the far right launching two-thirds of attacks and plots in 2019, and 90% of those in 2020.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  All that talk about ‘antifa’ is just that … talk.  Or perhaps an effort to distract from the real threat of white supremacy.

The report also shows the far left has been an increasingly negligible source of attacks since the mid-2000s.  Those of us on the left fight our battles with our voices, not our guns.

In February, a report by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism reported that cases of circulated propaganda by white supremacist groups in 2019 had more than doubled from the previous year, and the 2018 figures were 180% higher than 2017.  About two-thirds of the total propaganda incidents in the new report were traced back to a single white supremacist group, Patriot Front, which the ADL describes as “formed by disaffected members” of the white supremacist organization Vanguard America after the Charlottesville rally in 2017.

Is it purely coincidence that these groups have expanded only since Donald Trump took office?  I think not.

Justice?  We’ll see …

Well finally ol’ Roger Stone is going to prison … or is he?  Stone, convicted on charges of repeatedly lying to Congress and intimidating a witness to impede the House’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, was sentenced to 40 months back in February.  Stone had already received one delay on reporting to prison when he was first sentenced, and last week he requested yet another delay … until September 3rd.  He cites the coronavirus as his reason.  However, Judge Amy Berman Jackson has had enough of the Stone/Trump show and ruled that Stone must report to the federal correction institution in Jesup, Georgia, on July 14th.

But, unfortunately for the cause of justice, Donald Trump appears to have his pardon pen fully inked and ready to go.  Just this morning, he tweeted …

“IT’s TIME TO #PardonRogerStone”

So, if I had to lay odds, I’d say that Stone will, just like another corrupt Trump crony Michael Flynn, be a free man by the middle of July.  Stone has been a nasty piece of work since he was a very young man and has only gotten more insidious as he grew older.

Sadly, ‘justice’ is no longer defined in the United States as it once was.  Today it does not matter if you are guilty or innocent, corrupt or not … it only matters what Trump thinks of you.  I never thought I’d live to see the day when the United States became a banana republic, but that day is here.

Y’know … it’s really hard to stay grumpy when there is an adorable little squirrel just outside your window eating the bird seed and every now and then looking right at you.  It’s funny, but the birds don’t seem bothered by him in the least … they just go right on eating, perfectly willing to share their food, even though he doesn’t quite look the same as them.  Is there a lesson for us in that?squirrel

What You May Have Missed …

You could be forgiven for not noticing what Donnie Trump was up to this week, amid all the news of the coronavirus spiking, Trump’s embarrassing rally in Tulsa, his asinine comments in Phoenix, and the GOP barking about it’s police reform bill that was not much more than some mumbo jumbo that would have changed not a damn thing.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump was once again trying to repeal ACA, this time filing a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, even as coronavirus cases climb across the U.S. and soaring unemployment forces millions off employer-based health plans.

Yo!!!  Republicans!!!  Are you listening?  Do you understand what it will mean if the Supreme Court lets your beloved Trump have his way?  More than 2.3 million cases of the coronavirus, and meanwhile some 27 million people have lost their health insurance due to loss of employment, and Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act … now.  Says Trump …

“…  just so you understand, ObamaCare is a disaster. What we want to do is terminate it.”

I guess whether it is a disaster or a life-saver depends on which side of the wealth divide you stand on.  For some 99% of us, it is potentially a life-saver, but for those like Trump who have no financial worries, perhaps it is seen as a disaster, for it costs them a few bucks, and those guys are tight with a nickel.

Even Senator John Cornyn, a republican from Texas, who has voted against ACA numerous times, is now urging people to take advantage of it …

“The good news is that if you lose your employer-provided coverage, which covers about 180 million Americans, then that is a significant life event, which makes you then eligible to sign up for the Affordable Care Act — and as you know, it has a sliding scale of subsidies up to 400 percent of poverty.”

The Court will not hear the arguments until the next term which begins in October, and a decision is unlikely before the November 3rd election.

In other news … remember those $1,200 stimulus checks that were paid out in April as part of the $2.3 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress?  Well, the implementation of the disbursements covered under that bill has been a nightmare, just as we all figured it would.  Trump refused any oversight of how the money going to help businesses would be allocated, and the bulk of it has gone to big businesses, rather than the small businesses that most needed it.  But about those $1,200 checks … turns out the IRS sent more than one million of those checks to … dead people.  Yep, leave it to our federal government to royally screw up anything they are tasked with.dead-stimulus-paymentThe cost to We the Taxpayer for their screwup?  Potentially as much as $1.4 billion … yes, billion!  So how did this happen?  Well, to distribute the money, the Treasury Department used 2019 tax return records, but it did not use “third-party data,” such as the death records maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA), to determine whether the person was still alive.  The IRS is in the process of trying to get the money back, but they admit that they do not have plans to actively pursue it.  Ah well, what’s $1.4 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars, eh?


Steve Mnuchin

But that’s not all!  About those loans to small businesses … we who funded this project might want to know where the money went … not too much to ask, is it?  But, according to Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, it is.  By the end of May, we had spent more than $500 billion on some 4.5 million loans, but … to whom?  Mnuchin told a Senate committee earlier this week …

“As it relates to the names and amounts of specific PPP loans, we believe that that’s proprietary information.”

Even the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is charged with oversight of the program, has struggled to get information from the administration.  Several media outlets have filed a joint Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the identities of businesses that received loans through the PPP program. The Project on Government Oversight plans to file a separate FOIA request seeking the data.

So much for transparency and accountability in our government.

And another tidbit you might have missed … Trump & Co have decided they no longer want to apprise Congress in advance when they sell arms to foreign countries.  The reason?  According to Foreign Policy magazine, administration officials say they are tired of regular efforts by Capitol Hill to review arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other nations.

Lawmakers have tried to block weapons sales to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because of concerns about human rights issues and the prospect of civilian casualties, particularly with the Saudi-led coalition’s war against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.  It seems to be mostly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is tired of not being able to do as he wishes without having to seek the approval of Congress.

There will still be formal notification to Congress, but in many cases the formal notification does not give Congress sufficient time to assess the potential sale and put forth objections or concerns.  Again … Trump seems to chafe at the reins of congressional oversight, thinking he should be able to do as he wishes without the consent and advice of Congress.  Another corner of the Constitution lit afire.

And on that note, have a nice day!smile

Short, Snarky, And To The Point

Yesterday, after the second highest number of new cases of the coronavirus in one day in the U.S., the head-in-the-clouds vice president, Mike Pence, told republican lawmakers to “focus on encouraging signs”.  Never mind that there really aren’t any such encouraging signs.  Pence, like far too many others whose salaries we pay, is naught but a Trump sycophant hoping for a few bits to be thrown his way as long as he rolls over when told and is a good doggie.

Meanwhile, the reality is that cases are on the rise in about 20 states, proving that the push to open businesses back up against the advice of experts was a huge mistake.  Two of those states are the two most recently visited by Trump, Oklahoma and Arizona.  Please, Donnie, stay the hell out of my state!  Nobody wants you!

The three ‘men’ who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February have each been indicted by a grand jury on nine counts, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.  If convicted on the murder charges, the defendants face a minimum of life in prison and potentially could face a death sentence.3-assholesLook like a real bunch of winners, don’t they … especially the one on the far right.  This is a positive step, considering I predicted early on that they would receive no more than a slap on the wrist.  However, I am always amazed when I hear someone say this is “justice for Arbery”.  NO … this is justice, yes, but not for Mr. Arbery who is still dead!  It may be a satisfactory ending, if these three assholes are convicted, for Ahmaud’s family, but it is in no way justice for Ahmaud himself.  Justice for him would have been if someone had stepped forward and stopped the heathens from killing him in the first place.

William Barr, undoubtedly on orders of his ‘boss’, has put the U.S. Marshalls on alert and instructed them to be ready to guard national monuments from protestors who might deface or topple them.  So … just to be clear here … a piece of stone representing a man who fought for the right to own other people, aka slaves, is to be protected at all costs, but when it comes to human lives, our government is indifferent.  Remember that, folks … to Trump, Barr and the rest of the regime, you are worth less than a piece of stone, and less than a long-dead racist.  It’s always good to know where we stand in the grand scheme of things. toon

We’re coming into wildfire season out west where rain is scarce this time of year.  Since 2010, there has been a ban on any sort of fireworks at Mount Rushmore, since in years prior to that, wildfires had cropped up as a result of July 4th celebrations that included fireworks.  But, again … lives matter less than show to Donald Trump, and he is determined to hold a celebration at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota this year and he is further determined that it will include a pyrotechnics show.  Mount Rushmore is surrounded by 1,200 acres of forest and lies next to the Black Hills National Forest’s Black Elk Wilderness.Mount-RushmoreTrump has wanted to do this for the past two years, but until this year, his advisors were able to talk him out of it.  This year, most of the adults have left the room and his advisors seem to be all ‘yes-men’, so … the show will go on.  People will be exposed to the coronavirus and new cases will rise in the days following July 4th.  And there is a very real possibility that a devastating forest fire will be started.  All to assuage the ego of a megalomaniac.  I have no idea what this circus act will cost We the Taxpayer, but you can bet it will be a pretty penny.

Well, it looks like the ignoble, criminal Michael Flynn is a free man and likely to stay that way.  A federal appeals court ordered U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to accept William Barr’s move to pull the plug on the case against Trump’s first national security adviser.  Flynn is guilty, even pleaded guilty, and now he walks free.  But what bothers me most about this is the reason the appeals court gave in its opinion, saying that allowing the case to continue would intrude on the executive branch’s prerogatives to control criminal prosecutions.  WAIT just a damn minute here! toon-flynnThe majority opinion, written by Trump appointee Neomi Rao, went on to say that even scheduling a hearing — as Sullivan had done for next month — was improper under the circumstances because there was no good reason to doubt the government’s decision to reverse course.  No reason to doubt the government???  Seriously???  There is every reason in the world to doubt anything that comes out of either Trump’s or Barr’s mouths!  And since when is it proper for the executive branch to control criminal prosecutions???  The Judicial branch of government is intended to be independent of the executive branch!  What part of the U.S. Constitution does Ms. Rao fail to understand???

How far does this go?  So, if Kellyanne murders her husband, Trump and Barr can order the murder charges against her to be dropped?  Justice?  There is no justice in the United States of Chaos!

And on that note, I shall go try to stop the steam coming from my ears.steam-venting

Bits Of This ‘N That

I’ve been asked if I have ended the Saturday Surprise feature.  No, I haven’t, it is only on temporary hiatus because I’m finding it impossible, with so many things happening right under our very noses these days, to step back and do a post about unique things and places.  However, it should return in a few weeks … perhaps I can enlist Jolly’s help.  Meanwhile, a number of things clogged my radar screen last night …

Meet Marjory Greene …

"The 1st Annual Trump Family Special" Off-Broadway Press Conference

… the republican candidate from Georgia who is likely to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Her campaign ad showing her cocking a gun and threatening protestors is what earned her enough support to receive twice as many votes as the next highest candidate in Tuesday’s primary.  What the hell is it with Georgia and gun-toting politicians???  Remember these ads that helped propel Brian Kemp into the Georgia governor’s mansion?

Greene’s ad was actually removed from Facebook, a fact that she seems to wear like a badge of honour, and she did NOT win the primary, having received only 41% of the vote, less than the 50% needed to win.  There will be a run-off election in August against her contender, Dr. John Cowan.  But that didn’t stop Trump from congratulating her on her “win” …


And she thanked him …


Ms. Greene is exactly the type of person we DON’T need in Congress!  She is a supporter of the conspiracy-theorist group known as QAnon, a group flagged as a terrorist organization by the FBI.  Greene is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch,” where she is described by the group as “an avid MAGA activist who frequently attends rallies or participates in protests that aim to vilify the federal government, American Muslims and transgender people.”  Just what we do NOT need in Congress, a blatant bigot!

She has received funding for her campaign from the likes of Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy, to name a few … all uber right-wing republicans.  Given that the Georgia primaries were a complete fiasco with people standing in line for 7-8 hours waiting to vote, I’m not sure I trust the results, but according to polls, Greene is likely to win in her district, 75% of whom voted for Trump in 2016.  What a mockery of justice.

So wrong on so many levels …

The Oaf in the Oval Office is going to be hitting the campaign trail again starting next Friday.  Funny, that’s just about the only thing he has done … on our tax dollars, I might add … for three-and-a-half years!  We apparently hired him to be a campaigner and not much else.  His first rally will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

The date and the city are no coincidence, but rather further evidence of Trump’s racism.  Tulsa is the site of a race massacre 99 years ago that remains one of the worst acts of racial violence in US history. In 1921, hundreds of African Americans were killed when white mobs looted and burned what had been a thriving neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street.” That is the city where Trump fans will gather this year on the day honoring the abolition of slavery.

But, as if all that weren’t bad enough, while the coronavirus pandemic is still raging in much of the U.S. and we are currently at over 2.1 million cases and over 117,000 deaths, Trump is planning a rally in an indoor arena that has a capacity of 19,000 people.  Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has said people still need to employ social distancing and “minimize time spent in crowded environments”.  Therefore … wait for it, you’re gonna love this one … Trump and his campaign are demanding that attendees sign a waiver that makes clear the campaign is not responsible if anyone gets ill from crowding with thousands of others in an enclosed space.

I truly hope that only his most fervent supporters attend the rally and that they have at least enough good sense not to bring their children!

Another hit to the LGBT community …

You would not have wanted to hear the words that came out of my mouth when I read last night that Trump has reversed even more protections for transgender people against sex discrimination in health care.  The reversal will allow healthcare providers and insurance companies that receive federal funding to refuse to provide or cover health care for trans people.

Trump and his henchmen have also moved to restrict military service by trans men and women, proposed allowing certain homeless shelters to take gender identity into account in offering someone a bed for the night, and concluded in a 2017 justice department memo that federal civil rights law does not protect trans people from discrimination at work.  Employment law that prohibits discrimination applies to everyone!  You cannot say that it is okay to treat someone poorly because they are trans!

You know what?  Trans people should stop paying federal income tax, for they are not receiving any benefit from it, under Trump law.  In fact, I would love to see a nation-wide tax rebellion, since we really no longer have any voice in what our government does and are not getting our money’s worth these days.

And I close with the latest ad from The Lincoln Project …

Good People Doing Good Things —

Good people are everywhere.  In the past week, we may not have noticed them as they quietly went about the business of helping others, for chaos and drama were much more at the forefront.  But the good people were still there …

Scott Rudes is the principal of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.  The school, like all others in the U.S., closed in mid-March as a result of the coronavirus, and like every other school in the nation, its students missed out on the rites of passage otherwise known as ‘graduation’.

Dr. Rudes, however, found a way to make graduation special for the 249 seniors graduating from his school.  While other schools have held online ceremonies, Dr. Rudes wanted it to be more personal for his students, so he hopped in his pickup and spent the next 10 days driving 1,500 miles to personally present each student with a diploma!Scott-Rudes-1

“When I get to the house, we’re all masked up and we’re all sanitized, and I bring them their diploma cover and we have an opportunity to take a socially distanced picture. Many of the places that I’ve shown up to, it’s been a mini-graduation ceremony with the red carpet and the backdrop and everything.  Even though we’re going through extraordinary times right now, they are extraordinary people and they’re worth this effort.”


“Whatever presents in life, find the opportunity with that and run with it. That’s one of the things I think we do best at a school like ours with artists, to teach them to view the world from multiple perspectives and to be creative and expressive. I think that’s what gets them through the hard times.”

Two thumbs up 👍👍 to Dr. Scott Rudes for giving the gift of time … for caring.

I first became aware of Captain Thomas Moore a month or so ago, and considered him for a ‘good people’ post back then, but for some reason that I cannot remember, he didn’t quite make the cut that week, and by the next week I had forgotten Captain Tom.  But this week when he came back onto my radar, I knew I had to include him.

Captain Tom, is a former British Army officer who served in India, the Burma campaign, and Sumatra during the Second World War, and later became an instructor in armoured warfare. After the war, he worked as managing director of a concrete company and was an avid motorcycle racer.

On April 6th of this year, at the age of 99, he began to walk laps in his garden to raise money to aid the NHS Charities Together (NHS is the National Health Service in the UK), with the goal of raising £1,000 by his hundredth birthday on April 30th.  In the 24-day course of his fundraising he made many media appearances and became a popular household name in the United Kingdom, generating much interest in his life story, earning a number of accolades and attracting over 1.5 million individual donations. He featured in a cover version of the song You’ll Never Walk Alone, with proceeds going to the same charity. The single topped the UK music charts and made him the oldest person to achieve a UK number one!Tom-MooreWhile Captain Tom started with the modest goal of raising £1,000, he far surpassed that goal!  On the morning of his hundredth birthday the total raised by his walk passed £30 million, and by the time the campaign closed at the end of that day had increased to over £32.79 million, or about $41.2 million USD! Tom-Moore-bdayMore than 1 million people from around the world signed a petition to have him knighted—but despite all the appreciation and praise, Moore remained humble during his birthday celebration with the press and requested that they end the event with a round of applause for healthcare workers.  Thanks to a special nomination from Prime Minister Boris Johnson which was approved by Queen Elizabeth II this week, however, the veteran’s official new title is Captain Sir Thomas Moore.Tom-Moore-tweet

100 years old and giving his all to help others … now THAT’S what I call a good people!

I’d like you to meet former bartender Doc Hendley …Hendley-1Now, back in 2009 Doc was one of the CNN Heroes of the Year for his work starting a non-profit, Wine to Water, to provide clean water and sanitation to communities around the world.  I may feature him and Wine to Water in a future ‘good people’ post, but today Doc is on my radar for another reason.

When restaurants across the country closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of service industry workers suddenly lost their jobs.  As many of them found themselves struggling to make ends meet, Doc wanted to do something to help.

“It was devastating for the service industry community … People were scrounging, trying to file for unemployment, trying to figure out how are they going to make their rent payment.”

Hendley and his team of volunteers started putting together care packages in his hometown of Boone, North Carolina. The group distributes the packages, which are filled with 40 meals and other household necessities, to laid off restaurant workers throughout the state.  Even as restaurants across the country start to reopen, Hendley knows it will be crucial for his box program to continue.

“The problem is that revenue will still struggle for a lot of these places and many workers will still be out of the job since businesses will be trying to run extra lean. A lot of those workers are living paycheck to paycheck, or trying to pay their way through school, or a single mom trying to take care of kids.”

The boxes include fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, fresh baked bread, and toilet paper, among other food and hygiene items.  Since March, his organization has already given out more than 72,000 meals.Hendley-2But that’s not all!  His non-profit Wine to Water has risen to the challenge of the pandemic as well.  When the epidemic broke out, the organization’s water filter factories around the world began mass producing portable hand washing stations, which are placed in heavily trafficked areas such as police stations, health care clinics, and larger hospitals.

“It’s been so inspiring to see how many people have gotten behind and supported our programs around the world. When the sun does come out after the storm’s over, I think that we as a people are going to come through this stronger and more together than we’ve ever been.”

This guy deserves a medal of honour in my book!

I end with a bit of a lump in my throat … it felt soooooo much better to write about these people than the people and situations I’ve been writing about for the past week.  I hope this week’s good people raised your spirits just a bit, as they did mine.

Not The “Grand” Ol’ Party” Anymore

Boy, the GOP sure has a lot of class these days, don’t they?  Remember when GOP stood for ‘Grand Old Party’?  Nothing grand about them today … old, yes, but damn sure not grand.  It started long ago, but once they threw their weight behind the least classy person on the planet, they have sunk to several all-time lows in U.S. politics, and seemingly with no remorse, no shame.

The latest?

Well, for starters, Trump’s son Eric.  Now, we should probably give Eric a pass, for you can look at him and tell that, like his father, he’s a bit dimwitted.  Still, somebody should have stopped him from speaking in public long ago, for he seems to take some great pride in his idiocy.  Last week, during an interview with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro, he made the following claim …

“They think they’re taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time.  You watch — they’ll milk it every single day between now and November 3. And guess what? After November 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen. They’re trying to deprive him of his greatest asset.”

Eric-TrumpOnly one problem with Eric’s theory, which is that more than 350,000 people around the world have died, 100,269 in the U.S.  So, what???  Did France, Italy, Spain, the UK and every other nation on earth collude with U.S. Democrats to perpetuate this “hoax”?  What about those bodies, Eric?  How to you explain the deaths?  How do you explain the fact that every nation in the Western world has closed businesses, some issuing strict lockdown orders?  All just to defeat your father?  Guess what?  Donald Trump is just not that important … not by any stretch of the imagination.  Eric is, as always, an idiot.

And then, there’s Trump senior, who went on a bit of a tirade over the weekend, as he seems to do whenever there is a holiday weekend.  I guess he gets bored, but this time he called people names, fat-shamed a democrat, and just generally acted like a 13-year-old boy in heat.  He has done some extremely low-brow stunts before, such as the time he showed a doctored video of himself beating up a reporter, but this one takes the cake.  In normal times, the FCC would step in and ban this ad.

Last week, Joe Biden made one of his gaffes.  In the grand scheme of things, while it was a stupid thing to say, it only rates about a 1 on the stupid scale, while most times Trump opens his mouth, it rates at least an 8.  However, Trump will play up Joe’s gaffe for more than it’s worth.  He posted a doctored meme and a doctored video showing Ghana’s dancing pallbearers (a tradition in Ghana) carrying a casket marked “Biden”.  This is not only tasteless, but is against FCC rules.  But then, Trump can do anything he wants, according to AG William Barr, so …

I told you last week about his wrongful accusation against journalist Joe Scarborough, accusing him of murdering an intern on his staff back in the days when Scarborough was in the House of Representatives.  There was no basis for Trump’s accusation … the staffer died of a heart condition in 2001, the autopsy and police investigation at the time revealed no sign of foul play, and Scarborough wasn’t even in the same state at the time!  But the Idiot-in-Chief can’t abide the fact that Scarborough, a republican, is holding Trump’s feet to the fire, is not reporting on the “party line” as his buddies over at Fox do.

Well, the upshot of this one is that the deceased woman’s husband, Timothy J. Klausutis, wrote a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to please remove Trump’s tweets.  The letter reads, in part …

“My request is simple: Please delete these tweets … I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the president of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain.”

Very eloquently stated, and if I were Mr. Dorsey, I would have taken the tweets down immediately and given Trump a final warning.  But, don’t expect any attack of conscience on the part of Twitter.  A “spokesperson” responded …

“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family. We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”

What a crock of compassion, huh?  I hope Mr. Klausutis files suit against Twitter and wins!  This is eerily reminiscent of the pain caused by Alex Jones’ unfounded conspiracy theory that Sandy Hook never happened.  What the Sam Hell is wrong with people?

Trump’s tweets in this and many other instances do not fall under ‘freedom of speech’, but rather of hijacking a public platform to spread filth and lies.

No, my friends, there is zero class or dignity within the GOP in this, the era of Trump.  Every single republican who condones these behaviours … false premises, conspiracy theories, name-calling … is beneath contempt.  Any republican who fails to speak out against these atrocities must share the guilt of Trump, his ignoble sons, the greedy Jack Dorsey, and others who allow this abominable behaviour.  Quite literally, this is not a nation I respect or even like anymore.  That people tolerate this sort of behaviour, that there are no longer filters for people’s speech and actions, disgusts me.  No, the GOP is no longer the ‘grand’ anything.

Just Two Snippets Of Snark Today …

Trump seems to be occupying a heck of a lot of space on my radar screen these days, pushing out most everyone else.  I hoped to write about something else today, but fools, idiots and Trump were all I could see on my radar.  So …

Another temper tantrum …

Trump is threatening to change the venue for the Republican National Convention in August.  Initially planned for an Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump’s complaint now is that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper cannot promise that a packed arena will be allowed under the state’s rules to protect people from the spread of the coronavirus.

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the arena.  In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!”

Now, I fully understand Governor Cooper’s reticence to commit to allowing thousands of people into the arena to mingle and share their germs.  However, think about it.  If the republicans who would attend are so ignorant that they would risk not only their own lives, but also those of their families … let them. Trump’s alternative venue is Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is one of the first to throw the doors to the state wide open and throw caution to the winds.  DeSantis, like Trump, has no concern for the lives of people, but only the financial well-being of the wealthy, the tourism dollars that would be put into the state’s coffers.

The only thing that puzzles me is why Trump even cares if there is a convention, for all those who would oppose him have been shoved out of the race by the GOP, so the outcome is a given.  Why bother, why spend all that money and put so many people at risk, when the conclusion is already signed, sealed, delivered?

Lost meaning?

Memorial Day in the United States, celebrated on the last Monday in May, is intended to be a day set aside to remember and honour those who died in service to the nation, those who defended not only this nation, but allied nations as well.  Instead, it has become largely just another day to grill out, drink beer, and socialize.  While you might expect this year to be different, with protections in place to try to protect people from the coronavirus, people don’t have too many brains these days.

People flocked to beaches and other public venues, acting as if their pleasure was the most important thing on earth, and not giving a damn about the lives of others.  Surprised?  I wasn’t surprised, but I am disappointed.  But then, what’s new … I’ve been disappointed in the human race most of my adult life now.

When you have a fool at the helm of the ship, though, the rest will follow.  Trump, in the spirit of patriotism, took the opportunity to mock former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ weight, ridicule the looks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and call former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton a “skank.”  What a way to honour dead soldiers, eh?  But then … being a draft-dodger, he’s already proven to us that he has no respect for the military. What a stalwart example he sets for the masses, eh?  No wonder the U.S. is so hate-filled … it filters down from the top.

Oh, and you know how demanding Trump was that the churches all re-open this weekend?  Well, that was a ploy to please his evangelical base, for Trump himself was out on the golf course again on Sunday morning. Not that I mind … I’m hoping that with all his layers of … er … blubber, the exertion will be too much for him someday, else he’ll get swallowed by a sand trap.

I came across these two cartoons yesterday while on my search for Jolly Monday ‘toons, and thought that, while not appropriate for the non-political Jolly Monday, they would be perfect for a snarky snippets post.


Wise Words

Many of us, this writer included, have chafed at the invisible bonds of stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and the rest. Many of us finally accepted that this was the only way to save lives and we’ve made our peace with it, though still we sometimes whine. Our friend Hugh shared a piece today that made me sit back, take a deep breath, and think, put our troubles of today into an entirely new perspective. Is the glass half-full, or half-empty? Each of us will have our own take on that. Please read this short piece … and realize that what we are going through today is NOT the end of the world, and that this, too, shall pass. Thanks Hugh! We all needed this, I think!


I have no idea who wrote the following piece, but it strikes me as worthy of wider dissemination than it has had so far. My son sent it to me the other day and said, simply, “it was written by a co-worker.” It strikes me as particularly important given the fact that we are all feeling fed-up with the coronavirus and all that it entails. We simply cannot wait until things go “back to normal” — refusing to admit to ourselves that there may be no return to normal and that the “new normal” will be like nothing we have ever experienced.

In any event, we wallow in self-pity since few of us has ever had to deny ourselves much of what we want. This is, after all, the “Age of Entitlement” not only in the schools but in the homes as well. We buy on plastic and run up…

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Patience, Grasshopper …

There are those … a great many, from the so-called ‘president’ down through the ranks … who advocate for opening everything back up right now.  My own friend Scott (sklawlor) has very strong views that to keep businesses shuttered is draconian and is hurting people.  Yes, it is hurting people, hurting small businesses, but the alternative may well be 1,000 times worse.  So, I’d like to paint a scenario of what I think will happen in those areas that choose to re-open now.

First of all, if every business opened tomorrow, most would find themselves without adequate staffing.  Some people will be afraid to return to work, as the U.S. is still seeing more than 1,000 deaths per day.  Others will not be able to return to work, for they will have no childcare with daycare centers and schools closed.  Still others will not be able to return to work for they, themselves, are ill.

So, here’s Mr. Bob with a dine-in restaurant to open, but only about half his staff, if that, have returned to work.  Plus, Mr. Bob is trying his best to order beef, pork and chicken, not to mention fresh vegetables, and finding it’s hit and miss.  He can get half his order of ground beef the middle of next week, but no guarantee on the chicken breasts.  Also … he is mandated to change the seating arrangement in his restaurant so that he has only about half the tables he usually has, and NO bar seating.  Oh, and did I mention that he must also have printed disposable paper menus?  The printer will put his order in, but as there’s a backlog and the printer is understaffed for the same reasons Mr. Bob is, it may take a couple of weeks.

So, a couple of weeks pass and finally Mr. Bob has his ducks lined up, he’s ready for his Grand Re-Opening.  He has advertised on the ‘net, sent out flyers, and bought a small spot on a local radio program.  He opens his doors … and there are about 30 people in total.  The first group, a party of five, aren’t wearing masks, which Mr. Bob has been told they must do (though for the life of me, I don’t know how one eats with a bloomin’ mask!).  The party of five leave to go elsewhere, and Mr. Bob gives the red carpet treatment to the remaining 25.

The day progresses, people trickle in, but there is no surge of people who have just been chomping at the bit to dine at Mr. Bob’s.  At no time throughout the day or evening are all the tables filled, and at the end of the day, the receipts did not even cover the direct costs, let alone the overhead.

Why, you ask, did Mr. Bob, who’s restaurant is normally very popular, get so little business?  A number of reasons.  Very credible health experts who have dedicated their lives to the study of virology, have warned that there WILL be a resurgence, and most of us, after listening to the experts and thinking, realize it’s true, so we are in NO hurry to venture out on unnecessary business.  Second, during the two months of isolation, we have learned a few things.  We have learned that we really don’t need to go out for dinner every week, or shopping every weekend.  AND … when we did our end-of-month financial accounting, we realized that we had saved hundreds of dollars by staying home the past two months!  With times as uncertain as they are … we think for a few minutes and decide that for now, anyway, perhaps it would be best to continue staying home, keeping safe, and saving money, for who knows what tomorrow brings?

Time passes and the regulars start trickling back in to Mr. Bob’s restaurant, but not in any great numbers.  Worse yet, three of the servers on Mr. Bob’s staff have called in sick this week … he knows he should have his entire staff tested for coronavirus, but how?  At what cost?  By the end of the week, two other employees have tested positive for coronavirus and others are calling in saying that they simply cannot risk picking it up and bringing it home to their families.  The national daily death toll is now around 2,000 per day, and the total U.S. deaths have passed 120,000.

Saturday, Mr. Bob’s best day … he is down to two servers, one cook, and no hostess, so he will be wearing many hats.  By 10:00 p.m., when things are usually just starting to hop, Mr. Bob has one lone customer drowning his sorrows and a couple making google eyes over their steaks & salads.  Once they leave, Mr. Bob decides to hang it up and places the ‘Closed’ sign on the door for the last time.  He will call his attorney and ask him to file the bankruptcy papers tomorrow morning.

This, my friends, is NOT partisan bullshit, as Scott would likely say it is.  This is the scenario as I, an accountant for nearly 40 years and a thinker, a person with the ability to reason for far more years, think it will play out for small businesses across the nation.  I didn’t just come up with this scenario last night but have been playing the various possibilities in my head for weeks now.  In the above scenario, who gained anything?  Not the staff, some of whom were sickened, all of whom are now permanently out of their job.  Not the customers, some of whom no doubt picked up the virus at Mr. Bob’s and spent money that they may well need for food and rent in the coming months.  And not Mr. Bob, whose entire life just went up in smoke.

And there’s another aspect … earlier today I read that Trump is calling for schools to reopen so that parents can return to their jobs.  I was stunned that our children mean so little.  Would you be willing to send your children back to school right now?  I don’t have school-age kids, but if I did, I would be homeschooling for at least the rest of this year and maybe next year, as well.  No, we aren’t sending our children into the lion’s den just so businesses like Mr. Bob’s restaurant can re-open for a while.  NO!

In the words of Kwai Chang Caine played by David Carradine, “Patience, Grasshopper”.