Things I Was Pleased To See

Today for a change of pace, I thought I’d share with you a few things I was pleased to see in the news recently.  No, don’t worry … I’m not going soft, but sometimes it is nice to partly balance the negative with the positive.  I’ll be back with more snark later today, no doubt.

🏳️‍🌈Yesterday, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law with more than 2,000 people on hand to cheer!  While some claim the law does not go far enough, and I would agree, it is nonetheless a huge step in the right direction.  The law protects both same-sex marriages and inter-racial marriages, requiring the federal government and states to recognize legally performed marriages in other states. It also repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 bill that recognized marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

It is likely this bill would still be languishing somewhere in the Senate, but a sense of urgency prevailed when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, of all people, indicated that the Court should revisit the 2015 Obergefell v Hodges ruling that guarantees a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Of late, the Court has not shown itself to be on the side of human rights.  The Respect for Marriage Act even had a bit of support from Republicans in both the House and the Senate, which I find very encouraging.  It’s time we all learn to just accept each other for who we are without trying to run the lives of others for them.

In Oregon, the outgoing Governor Kate Brown took a step that I fully applaud.  She announced that she will commute the sentences of all 17 individuals on Oregon’s death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  As an opponent of the death penalty, I am beyond pleased to hear this.  Says Governor Brown …

“I have long believed that justice is not advanced by taking a life, and the state should not be in the business of executing people — even if a terrible crime placed them in prison. This is a value that many Oregonians share.”

She also directed the Department of Corrections to dismantle the state’s death chamber.

According to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), civil rights giant and former U.S. Representative John Lewis, who spent decades fighting for racial justice, will be honored with a postage-stamp next year!  I cannot think of a single person more worthy of this honour.  The USPS said the stamp “celebrates the life and legacy” of the leader from Georgia, who risked his life protesting against segregation and other injustices in the violent Jim Crow-era South.

“Lewis spent more than 30 years in Congress steadfastly defending and building on key civil rights gains that he had helped achieve in the 1960s. Even in the face of hatred and violence, as well as some 45 arrests, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to what he liked to call ‘good trouble.'”

And lastly, a bit of humour out of Florida.

In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Lou Caputo, left, costumed as the Grinch, and Deputy Andrew Leird, right, wave at a school bus rolling on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Marathon, Fla. When drivers are pulled over for slightly speeding through a school zone, Caputo offers them the choice between an onion or a traffic citation. It’s a holiday tradition in the Keys that Caputo began 20 years ago to educate drivers that Keys schools remain in session through Dec. 16.

Saturday Surprise Is On Temporary Hiatus …

Once again, I must put Saturday Surprise on hiatus for this week.  Sorry folks, but I will try to bring it back next week.  Meanwhile, I have a couple of things that I came across in the last day or two that have me … well, filled with a snarky attitude, and you know what that means …snarky-toon

Rerun in Alabama …

First up … good ol’ racist, twice de-throned federal judge, and sexual abuser Roy Moore is back in the running … once again for a seat in the U.S. Senate, once again challenging Doug Jones, who won the special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ senate seat in 2017.  According to Moore …

“I will run for the U.S. Senate in 2020. Can I win? Yes, I can win. They know I can. That’s why there’s so much opposition.”

moore-3However, thus far I have only read of opposition to his candidacy, even from Trump!  The GOP plans to do everything in their power to block his candidacy.  Even ol’ Turtle-head Mitchell McConnell is opposed to Roy’s candidacy.  A few of the objectors …

“Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men.” – Republican Senator Martha McSally of Arizona (I’m not a fan of Ms. McSally, but I LOVED this comment!)

“The people of Alabama are smarter than that. They certainly didn’t choose him last time, why would they choose him this time?” – Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado

“Roy Moore is going against my father and he’s doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country in the process.” – Don Trump, Jr., a nobody

“We’ll be opposing Roy Moore vigorously.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

AlabamaNow, one would think that it’s a no-brainer Moore won’t even get the republican nomination, let alone win the general election against Doug Jones, right?  But wait … it’s Alabama, folks.  They nominated him last time, despite credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors.  Despite having been thrown off the judicial bench, not once but twice, for failure to uphold the law, putting his personal beliefs above the law of the land.  Alabamans do not care if Donald Trump has cheated on three wives and sexually abused minors, they don’t care if Roy Moore has done the same.  Alabamans want whoever will guard their precious anti-LGBT and anti-abortion views, and nothing else matters to them.

According to an analysis in FiveThirtyEight

Moore still has a passionate base of support, particularly among conservative evangelical Christians. So the main question for his candidacy moving forward will be whether he can attract voters beyond his base.

As things stand, he could have enough backing to reach a primary runoff — Alabama requires a nominee to win a majority of the primary vote or the top-two candidates must face off in a subsequent election. However, while Moore would probably struggle to win the majority support necessary to advance to the general election, others in the field might have weaknesses Moore could exploit.

moore-4In other words … yes, Roy Moore could conceivably win the republican nomination, and could win the election against Jones, for Alabama is a heavily republican state that heavily supports Trump.  As I said, their prejudices are more important to them than the welfare of the nation.

Dear Alabamans:  While your holier-than-though bigotry may drive you to tolerate such an ass as Mr. Moore, please note that you do NOT have the right to inflict his brand of racist misogyny on the rest of the nation … we already have one such creature sitting in the Oval Office, and one is one too many.  If you want him, then make him a state senator, but do not under any circumstances send him to Washington D.C.

Where are they hiding?

There is a bill under consideration in the Oregon state legislature that would limit greenhouse gas emissions and would require carbon-producing businesses to purchase pollution credits.  Over time, the state would decrease the number of credits available, thereby lowering the level of emissions allowed.  It is just the sort of bill that is needed in every state in the union, or better yet, at the federal level, but … sigh … we have Donald Trump up there.

Long story short, the republican lawmakers in Oregon didn’t like the bill, just as republicans everywhere in this nation seem opposed to such things as clean air, potable water, safe and healthy food … or in other words, a livable planet.  They apparently felt so strongly about it that rather than simply vote against the bill, which would have passed anyway, for the democrats in Oregon hold a supermajority (2/3 or more), these republicans simply went away.  Yep, the cowards left the state.

The republicans claim that their fear is the passage of the bill would increase fuel costs, affecting the trucking and logging industries.  Oh well, says I. 🤷 The trucking industry is a large contributor to carbon emissions, and the logging industry is decimating our forests, thus further destroying our environment, so I have zero empathy for either.

The republicans’ presence is requisite to achieve a quorum, without which the bill cannot be voted on.  So, they fled in dereliction of their duty to their constituents.  But … Governor Kate Brown had an ace, or what appeared to be an ace, up her sleeve … she called the police!  She instructed the Oregon State Police to track down and round up any lawmakers on the lam, an order that authorizes authorities to put the elected officials in patrol cars and drive them back to the Capitol in Salem.


Governor Kate Brown with student climate activists

One big, bad senator, Brian Boquist, threatened violence, saying …

“Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”

BrianBoquistResistsOooooohhh … hear me quaking in my shoes?  Sheesh … and these ‘men’ are supposedly intelligent enough to have been elected to the State Senate?  What were Oregonians thinking?  Are they no brighter than the Alabamans?

And the next thing that happened was that right-wing militia groups began mobilizing across the entire Pacific-Northwest to prevent the State Police from arresting the senators!  That’s right … you heard me right … the thugs are going to fight the cops to protect the men who are trying to speed up the destruction of our planet, in a nutshell.  Sounds vaguely like a Sci-Fi flick, doesn’t it?  What could possibly go wrong, eh?  Another right-wing militia group, this one in Idaho where it is believed the senators are hiding out, is working with the Oregon group.  Said spokespersons of Real Three Percenters Idaho …

“We’re doing what we can to make sure that they’re safe and comfortable.  We will stand together with unwavering resolve, doing whatever it takes to keep these Senators safe.”

So … I guess these senators, like the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, are above the law?  It’s just the ‘little people’ like you and me who are obliged to follow the law, and expected to give an honest day’s work for a day’s pay.  When the heck are people going to wake up and understand that we are burning down our home???  All this game playing is … it is criminal … it is murder!

What?  I’m over 1,200 words already?  But … but I was just getting started … I had at least three more snippets!  Okay, fine … I shall return soon with the other three, and I shall try to be less verbose in he future … though I make no promises.  Have a happy weekend, and hopefully Saturday Surprise will return next Saturday.