It has been snowing for 24 hours now, and yet there is no more than 1/4-inch on the ground. How does that work? Anyway, the last time I recall seeing more than just a brief glimpse of that big, bright ball that used to be in the sky was August, I think. Cold and gloomy make me even more grumpy than usual, which makes today a good day for just a few snarky snippets.
Where’s da salad …
I was at the grocery, my local Kroger store, on Sunday evening, my usual time to buy groceries, and one of the things on my list was a bag of salad. Guess what? No salad. None. Nada. Nunc. Zip. Zilch. Nary a bag of salad to be found. Why?Last Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a food safety alert urging Americans to refrain from eating, and retailers from selling, any romaine lettuce. Apparently, five people had died from an E. coli outbreak in June, and nearly two hundred people got sick. In June. This is November. Okay, sigh, I bought a head of iceberg lettuce, some carrots and made my own damn salad … no biggie. Except …
Every day in America, 96 people on average are killed by guns and hundreds more are injured. We cannot buy romaine lettuce because … GASP … five people died, yet tens of thousands of people die from guns every year, and buying a gun is about as simple as walking into a Wal-Mart store and saying, “I’ll take that one … and 100 rounds of ammo, too.” Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture? Is lettuce really more dangerous than a gun? No, but it is a hell of a lot easier to ban!
Sssssnakesssssssss in Mississippi …
You may remember my post from Sunday titled The Ugly Face of Racism, about the run-off election today in Mississippi for the Senate seat left vacant by Thad Cochran. The republican candidate, Cindy Hyde-Smith has made multiple blatantly racist comments, and yet, the race is close. Trump went to stump for her yesterday, which many believe will give her the winning edge. (Seriously??? Sheesh.) But this snippet isn’t about her, isn’t about whether she wins or loses, but instead is about the venomous monsters she unleashed.
Nooses and signs with messages about lynching were discovered on the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol on Monday. You’ll remember that Ms. Hyde-Smith said that she would be in the front row if invited to a lynching? Well, apparently some took her at her word and are extending that invitation.Ms. Hyde-Smith currently holds about a 5-point lead over her African-American democratic opponent, Mike Espy. After the bigoted insults she has hurled, she should be polling so low that she drops out. This, to me, says something about the people of Mississippi.
Prescience buried …
In April 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with the FBI, released a report titled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. The report warned that “rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.” It also predicted that the possibility of new gun restrictions and the return of “military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities” might mean “emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.” The report called this convergence of factors the “most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”
Are you scratching your head and wondering why you don’t remember hearing of this report? It is because the report was quickly squelched after congressional republicans threw a temper tantrum.
Representative Lamar Smith of Texas said the administration was “awfully willing to paint law-abiding Americans, including war veterans, as ‘extremists.’” Then-representative Steve Buyer of Indiana, the top Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs committee at the time — called it “inconceivable” that some veterans could pose a threat. But the final blow came from then-Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who issued a formal statement:
“To characterize men and women returning home after defending our country as potential terrorists is offensive and unacceptable. The Department of Homeland Security owes our veterans an apology.
Furthermore, the Secretary of Homeland Security owes the American people an explanation for why she has abandoned using the term ‘terrorist’ to describe those, such as al Qaeda, who are plotting overseas to kill innocent Americans, while her own Department is using the same term to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation. Everyone agrees that the Department should be focused on protecting America, but using such broad-based generalizations about the American people is simply outrageous.”
Thus it came to be that the report was removed from the DHS website and never made public.
And now, perhaps it doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Just last month, 13 people died in two incidents: A Kentucky gunman attempted to enter a historically black church, then shot and killed two black patrons in a nearby grocery store. And an anti-Semitic loner who had expressed anger about a caravan of Central American refugees that Trump termed an “invasion” has been charged with gunning down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.
This month brought two more bodies: A military veteran who had railed online against women and blacks opened fire in a Tallahassee yoga studio, killing two women and wounding five. All told, researchers say at least 20 people have died this year in suspected right-wing attacks.
It is true that to a large extent Donald Trump must shoulder much of the blame for the aforementioned incidents, for his support of white ‘nationalism’ has opened the door for much of this. And it is also true that even had the 2009 report been made public, it might not have made much difference. But the very fact that the republicans, led by John Boehner, squelched the report that we now know contained predictive information, kept it from the public, is infuriating and perhaps some of those who were injured in Charlottesville, or killed in the synagogue in Pittsburgh, should lay the blame at the feet of Mr. Boehner.
And now, though I could go on for quite a bit longer, I must get busy. I have a list of things that must get done today, the first one being to make a list! Miss Goose’s birthday is tomorrow … she will be 24, but don’t tell her I told, for she is rather upset at being so “old”.