Snarky Snippets From Da Rabbit Hole

I’m keeping nice and warm down here in the rabbit hole, and the rabbits are generously sharing their carrots with me … so I don’t have much desire to write a lengthy post in this nice warm, dark space, but a couple of thoughts do come to mind …


A hint of … conscience?  Convince me

I have found at least three Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who maybe … just maybe … actually have a shred of decency and a degree of intelligence.  Their names are Ken Buck (Colorado), Nancy Mace (South Carolina), and Victoria Spartz (Indiana).  I was told a couple of weeks ago that there are about 40 ‘moderate’ Republicans in the House today, but I had begun to doubt, since I hadn’t seen anything to give me reason to believe that.  These three, however, have all said they would oppose removing Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee on which she serves as the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact.

McCarthy’s intention to remove her is retaliatory in nature … he’s still trying to “pay back” the Democrats for removing conspiracy theorists Marge Green and Paul Gosar from their committee assignments last year due to their roles in the January 6th attempted coup and other transgressions that proved them untrustworthy.

“I think that we should not engage in this tit-for-tat.” – Ken Buck

Don’t let that fool you, though, for these three have voted along the party line often enough to prove their loyalty to party and when push comes to shove, I imagine they will toe the line.


And then there were seven … and three more …

First, five police officers were fired, then charged with second-degree murder among other charges in the case of the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols.  I questioned why five officers were even involved in what began as a routine traffic stop.  I still question that, but now we’re up to seven officers having been involved!  Two more, one unnamed, and Preston Hemphill have also been “relieved from duty” but not charged … yet.  Hemphill apparently fired a taser gun at Nichols.

Preston Hemphill

The other officer has not been named, for reasons beyond my comprehension.  I wonder how many more are going to go down in this investigation once the full truth comes out?  How many police does it take to question one unarmed man during a traffic stop?

In addition to police, EMT personnel failed to exercise the standards of care and two of the EMTs and the ambulance driver have also been fired.  They are Robert Long, JaMicheal Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker.

Not only did the EMTs fail to do an assessment of Mr. Nichols’ condition, but it took a full 27 minutes after their arrival until the ambulance left to transport Mr. Nichols to the hospital.  Was there not one single person there who cared about this human life???  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


As if it weren’t bad enough …

Yes, I’m talking about the gun crisis in this country.  As if it weren’t bad enough that on average 117 people lost their lives every single day in the United States this year thus far, now the Florida legislature wants to make it even easier for people to own and carry a gun … in public.  Says Florida’s Republican House Speaker, Paul Renner …

“What we’re about here today is a universal right that applies to each and every man and women regardless of race, gender or background.”

The bill in question is one that would remove the requirement to obtain a government-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Stupidly, the Florida Sheriff’s Association has thrown its support behind the bill, and Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has already said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.  And it should come as no surprise that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is also 100% behind the bill — in fact, they are laughing and chortling wildly.  The governor recently applauded the Sheriff’s Association for saying they would outright refuse to enforce any and all gun control legislation!  Is Florida still a part of the U.S.???  I’m not so sure it should be!


And on the subject of guns, our friend Keith Wilson had an excellent post yesterday that I urge you to read!

No delusions – poor governance in action

The U.S. House of Representatives is supposed to be “the people’s” branch of Congress, but today it is anything but. The goals of about half the members of the House do not align with the goal of a government that is “… of the people, by the people, for the people.” Check out what our friend Keith has to say about the House and responsible governance.

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In case you had any delusions that the new majority in the US House would offer up good governance, please note:

– Returning Congress representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar have been seated on Committees by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after being removed in the last Congress for their inflammatory and inane remarks. When I think of Greene and Gosar, the words reasonable and collaborative are not top of mind.

– New Congressman George Santos, the one with the highly fabricated resume, will be seated on two Committees by Speaker McCarthy. Instead of advocating for his being censured or even removed, Santos gets two Committee assignments. I guess the Speaker holds lying in higher regard than most people. Either that or he needed his vote to remain Speaker and will put up with anything.

– Numerous bills have been proposed to restrict voting. As an independent voter, the greater problem…

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I am not mistaken, I was misquoted (a reprise)

Today, our friend Keith reprised a post from ten years ago that brings to mind the quote, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Thank you, Keith, for this walk down memory lane and the reminder that lying politicians is nothing new (although I do think George Santos gets the grand prize for the biggest lies!)

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George Santos is not the first politician to be caught in a lie. I wrote the following in 2013, before the age of Trump. You can tell as if it was written later, examples of his untruthfulness would be hard not to include.

On our way to school this morning, my son and daughter were arguing over who said what. My son told his sister that she is acting like a politician and uttered, “I am not mistaken, I was misquoted.” I almost ran off the road it was so funny. It reminds me that you cannot hide from your comments in this day and age. They may be taken out of context, but they have been recorded somewhere, so you cannot disown them.

Last year, Charles Barkley, the former basketball player and current sports analyst, got some flack for what appeared in his book. His classic response was he…

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Governance? I Think NOT!

Cowardice, greed, and arrogance are the first three words that come to mind when I ponder Kevin McCarthy’s already-failed tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Make no mistake … I do not support the 20 right-wing radicals who are holding the United States hostage by voting for the likes of domestic terrorist Jim (Gym) Jordan, but McCarthy does not have either the courage or the strength to lead the House for the next two years … he is a coward because he has sold his soul (and our democracy) trying to gain a position he has only been able to dream of, he is a greedy and arrogant bastard because he is putting his own desires for power ahead of the best interests of the nation.  Dan Rather has a rather more well-modulated way of assessing the situation than I do at the moment, so I shall share his words with you instead of mine that would be laced with various expletives.


Burning Down The House

Chaos reigns

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

05 January 2023

Before craziness and chaos engulfed the House of Representatives in the saga of electing a new speaker, a Kodak moment provided a vivid portrait of the relative health of our two major political parties and our nation as a whole.

There stood Nancy Pelosi raising the gavel for the last time as speaker in front of the imposing scroll-back chair from which she had wielded power. Her job at that moment was purely ceremonial — closing the 117th Congress — but the symbolism was poignant. It marked an end to a Congress of action and accomplishment and the beginning of an era of performative pandemonium. The gavel stood there in mid-air like a baton with no one to accept it.

In the reporting on Kevin McCarthy’s travails for gaining the speakership, many have noted how small his majority is, how he can afford to lose only a few votes, and that therein lies his major problem. But as others have pointed out, Pelosi had a small majority in the last Congress — yet she maintained unity in her party and ran the House with efficiency and precision, and to great effect.

The dumpster fire we are witnessing now has been smoldering for years, if not decades. It is what happens when people elect representatives who actively hate the idea of governance. It is what happens when people rack up victories with Fox News rants and not legislation. It is what happens when a quest for power means you’re willing to yield and appease everyone and everything that can help you secure it.

To be sure, crooks, cranks, and malevolent embarrassments have not been the exclusive purview of any one political party over the years. The nature of democracy is that it can be very messy; in moments of passion, fear, or even apathy, it can sweep into office all manner of men and women who have no business being there. The idea of a legislature, however, is that the whims, idiosyncrasies, and destructive instincts of a few can be tempered by the many. Obviously that is not what is happening now.

There is a tendency among some in the beltway press to frame this as a battle of the political extremes, how the far right is undermining Republican initiatives. In this analysis there is often a perfunctory “both sides” mention of the political left, which also supposedly threatens the “center” and the ability to govern.

This simplistic framing misses the mark at this moment. On the Republican side, it is not clear what the renegades want, other than to figuratively burn down the house (or House). Some have specific demands, and McCarthy has caved more than a spelunker. But it’s still not good enough. Furthermore, these demands are almost exclusively about process and not policy. It’s about allowing a nihilistic minority to foment perpetual mayhem, thereby undercutting the debate and responsible compromise that should be the business of Congress. Ultimately, it’s about accommodating Steve Bannon and not delivering for constituents.

There is no analogous movement on the left. Even if one disagrees with the policy positions of the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic Party, ultimately those members of Congress are almost all institutionalists — in that they believe in the idea and work of the legislative branch of government. They understand that you need a speaker for the House to function, so they backed Pelosi. They left the debates and disagreements for individual bills and votes. That, by the way, is how the Founders envisioned it.

But this isn’t just about Pelosi, as formidable as her leadership skills were. The Democrats also have rallied around her successor, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who occupies more of the moderate middle of the party. As Republicans embarrass themselves on the national stage with rounds and rounds of votes, the Democrats have held steady in unity behind Jeffries. It’s an impressive show of discipline for a political party that was once mocked (including by Democratic members of Congress) for having all the herding instincts of cats.

As much as this spectacle is gaining the attention of the American people, make no mistake that it is being watched with keen eyes around the world — by our friends and foes alike. Our allies wonder, especially in the wake of the last administration, whether they can count on America. Will these renegades blow up the world economy by defaulting on American debt? Will they pass a budget? Will they support Ukraine? Will they actively continue to undermine America’s democratic traditions?

Meanwhile, in places like Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and Pyongyang, despots, autocrats, and dictators are cheering our divisions and the distance they create between our national ideals and our political reality. In moments of instability in Washington, the entire world becomes more dangerous. Not that the Republican holdouts care.

The public debasement of House Republicans may make for great schadenfreude viewing for Democrats. Some literally broke out the popcorn in the House chamber. But ultimately this is a sad moment for our country. We need strong political parties that believe in negotiating, legislating, and governing. We need individual congresswomen and men of decency and integrity. We need strength and thoughtfulness to tackle our myriad problems.

We need a Congress, not a circus.

For another excellent analysis of the situation, see our friend Keith’s post … he, too, is spot-on!

The Blame Game

Our friend Keith is tired of the people we elect to do the “peoples’ business” wasting their time and our tax dollars playing the blame game, pointing fingers across the aisle to blame the ‘other side’ for their own failures. It’s time for We the Voters to wake up and understand that nothing of value gets done as long as our elected officials are acting like playground bullies. Thanks, Keith, for a timely assessment!

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In our age of zero-sum politics, where one side must lose when the other side wins, the people who always tend to lose in these equations are the voters that put them there. Far too little gets done. Most legislators are too busy constantly running for office and blaming the other side to do what they were hired to do.

Quite simply, the “Blame Game” has to stop. Legislator, do your job, the one you were hired to do. When I see a legislator or wanna-be legislator online or TV and I hear the Blame Game start up, I turn it off. The other side is at fault for something.

I don’t want to hear it. What I want to hear is if that is a problem, what do you intend to do about it? Don’t just tell me why something is wrong or wrong in your mind, what is…

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Don’t point a finger when you can lend a hand

In this timely post, our friend Keith reminds us that we can ALL do something to help others. He also reminds us that sometimes helping someone means giving them the skills and tools they need to help themselves. Thank you, Keith, for all that you have given and continue to give to us all!

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“Don’t point a finger when you can lend a hand.” Sounds profoundly simple doesn’t it? Yet, why is it such a underutilized approach? One of our friend’s father was good with his hands, but also had a big heart. Before he passed away, it was not uncommon for him and a group of handymen from his church to visit sites of hurricanes and help people repair and rebuild.

Even though you may not be a handy person yourself, volunteering to help means a great deal to the community, but also yourself. Probably the most exhausted I have ever been is when a work group from my company helped build a Habitat for Humanity house. I was so tired, this right-handed person was hammering up the insulation with his left hand at the end of the day. But, I also felt very rewarded in doing something good.

Yet, you do not…

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A few interesting headlines

Keith’s post today is a compilation of just a few of the latest headlines that prove just how low the once “Grand” Old Party has sunk. This is a big 10 on the growl-meter in my book! Thanks Keith!!!

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From John L. Dorman of Business Insider yesterday – “Georgia GOP Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan says Herschel Walker will ‘probably go down as one of the worst candidates in our party’s history'”

From The Guardian yesterday – “Brexit has fueled surge in UK food prices, says Bank of England policymaker: Britons need to be kept aware of the cost of leaving the EU, says Swati Dhingra

From Francine Prose of The Guardian yesterday: “Trump had dinner with two avowed antisemites. Let’s call this what it is: A 2024 candidate broke bread with Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist, and Ye, who has praised Hitler. Don’t normalize this”

From Newsweek yesterday – “Kari Lake lawyers sanctioned by judge over frivolous election lawsuit”

Taking these four headlines in order, let me offer these frank assessments. First, a party must police itself if it intends to serve our country. Republican Lt. Governor Duncan’s…

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Good People Doing Good Things — A Mix

There are so many good people in this world … but sadly they don’t get the same level of attention the not-so-good people get, for they are just quietly going about the daily business of helping others.  That’s why once a week I take time out of the darkness that is often an inherent part of this blog to shine a bright light on those most deserving good people!  This week, I am starting with the kids who have already learned the joy of helping others, for they are our future.


Good People start young!

In Iowa lives a young man, a kindergarten student named Makay.  During the summer, Makay had, as many kids do, a lemonade stand outside his house where he made a bit of a profit.  So, while some kids his age would be eyeing the latest video game or toy to spend his newfound wealth on, Makay just wanted to do something nice for his classmates.

After some thought, Makay decided to buy all the kindergarten kids at his school a pumpkin for Hallowe’en.  His family coordinated with his teacher and principal, who arranged a field trip to Pride of the Wapsi, a popular eastern Iowa pumpkin patch and corn maze destination.

The owners loved Makay’s idea so much that they let him pick enough pumpkins for the 1st Graders at his school, too. Pride of the Wapsi owner, “Farmer Pat”, decided to pay it forward with another act of kindness. He is donating all of the money Makay used to buy pumpkins to the Red Cross for Hurricane Ian relief.

See how that works, folks?  It’s the domino effect … one good deed leads to another and in theory, pretty soon all of us are doing good things!


More than just a pair of shoes

Romello “Mello” Early and his friend Melvin Anderson are 7th graders in Buffalo, New York.  Kids had been teasing Melvin over his worn-out shoes, but the teasing graduated to outright bullying and Melo was so distressed over it that he went home in tears one night and asked his mom if he could buy Melvin a new pair of shoes.

“Can I use my allowance, or you can take something away that I would get for Christmas?”

What parent could resist a plea such as that?  Naturally, Mello’s mom took him to the shoe store that evening and not only bought Melvin a new pair of shoes, but a pair of $135 Nikes!  Mello used money he had been saving from his allowance to buy the shoes.

When he learned of Mello’s generosity, the school’s Dean, Bryant Brown Jr., was brought to tears, in part because when he was growing up he had also been the victim of bullying.  Brown shared the story on Facebook, and it took off like wildfire, as good news stories often do.  Long story short, it came to the attention of numerous local news stations and eventually caught the eye of someone at The Washington Post and was featured in their “Good Vibes” feature.

Says Mello …

“You should always treat people the way you want to be treated. I have a lot of stuff, so I was thinking, let’s bless somebody else today.”

Out of the mouths of babes!


Police officers get a bad rap … sometimes with good reason, for there are ‘dirty cops’ out there … but I believe that most are dedicated public servants who want to help rather than hinder the public.  Here are just a couple of examples …

Above and beyond the call of duty

When a woman in McDonough, Georgia, was in a hurry to get to work but needed to stop for gas, she was stunned to find her credit card declined!  Police officer Harrison just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and as the woman decided to walk to work in the rain and leave her car at the fuel station until she could sort the problem, Officer Harrison instead used his personal card and paid for her full tank of gas!

No longer indecent

In Atlanta, Georgia, Officer Nguyen was dispatched to check out a report about an act of ‘indecent exposure’.  When Office Nguyen arrived, though, what he found was a homeless man whose clothes were so threadbare that parts of his body were exposed.  Rather than arrest the man, the officer went to Wal-Mart and bought a set of clothing and a pair of shoes for the man with his own money.  Just a little thing, but he didn’t have to do it … he could have taken him to the station and let it be someone else’s problem.


Back in February, I featured Dolly Parton as one of my ‘good people’ for her many forms of philanthropy.  Just this month, Ms. Parton received new kudos for her contribution to the Moderna Covid vaccine, and our friend Keith has that story, so hop over and check it out.  Thanks, Keith!  Dolly is indeed a ‘good people’, as are you!

Too little hype, several climate change initiatives passed in last week’s elections

There is no single issue that is more important to the survival of life on earth than the environment and climate change. None. Yet, I think most of us were unaware of the environment-related issues that were on the ballot on November 8th, most of which passed muster with the voters. Our friend Keith summarizes …

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In an article by Frida Garza of The Guardian called “Voters pass historic climate initiatives in ‘silent surprise’ of US midterms,” some very good news occurred while we weren’t paying too much attention.

The full article can be linked to below, but here are a few paragraphs that summarize the story:

“While the economy and abortion rights drove momentum behind the midterm election this year, voters in cities and states across the US also turned out to pass a number of climate ballot initiatives .

Among the measures passed were ahistoric multibillion-dollar investmentinto environmental improvement projects in New York state, including up to $1.5bn in funding for climate change mitigation. This election also saw a $50m green bond act pass in Rhode Island, and in Colorado, the city of Boulder approved a climate tax as well as a ballot measure that will allow the city to borrow against…

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Half a dozen plus heroes to think about today – an updated post of a few years ago

Time to look away from elections for a few minutes and take a look at some real-life heroes that our friend Keith is shining a light on today. Thank you, Keith, for such an inspiring post, for showing us the courage of those who have truly earned the title ‘hero’.

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My wife and I watched the movie “Harriet” on Friday about the American hero Harriet Tubman. She helped over 300 slaves find their way to freedom. Her courage, tenacity, faith and smarts are highly commendable. The movie is excellent and quite moving.

It got me thiking about a few other heroes. Let me mention three more historical heroes who need more notoriety, before I close with two current ones who deserve the shout out.

I have written before about Alan Turing, the father of modern day computing. He led a team that cracked the Nazi Enigma code used in secret transmissions. Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower said Turing and his team helped shorten the war by two years and save 750,000 lives. Sadly, Turing had to hide the fact he was gay and was later imprisoned after his sexual preferences were discovered. What if they had discovered he was gay…

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