Only Two Snippets Of Snark …

Just a couple of short snippets tonight …

Laws and rules are in place for a reason.  Granted, some of them are ridiculous or outdated and most of us only laugh about those.  But, for the most part, we obey the laws and expect others to do the same.  This era of populism, this reign of Trumpism, however, seems to have given some the idea that it is okay to disobey the laws that are inconvenient for them.

Yesterday, the governor of my state, Mike DeWine, put into place a mandate that everyone must wear a mask covering mouth and nose when in a public venue.  Numerous other governors, in lieu of a federal mandate, have imposed similar ones.  So, everyone in those states is either wearing a mask or staying home, right?  Wrong.  Not only are about a third of the people simply refusing to wear a mask, but local authorities are, in many cases, refusing to enforce the ruling.

In my own county, the virus has spiked significantly in the past two weeks as a result of businesses opening back up and people being exposed more and more.  Yet, the county sheriff, one Richard Jones, has said …

“I am not going to enforce any mask-wearing. That is not my responsibility, that is not my job. People should be able to make that choice themselves.”


County Sheriff or Cowboy Bob???

Why hasn’t he been fired?  Enforcing the law is, after all, his job.  This scenario has played out all around the country.  Businesses are far more likely to enforce the rules of mask-wearing than local law enforcement.  But worse yet, people who choose not to wear a mask are getting violent over it … there is simply no excuse for this!  I cannot wear a mask, so I stay home!  Period.  I no longer even go into the grocery to buy my weekly groceries, but order online and pay $5 to have them picked, bagged, and I can drive by and pick them up.

This nation has many problems to solve, but until we act responsibly and with respect for others, we aren’t going to even be able to begin to solve them.  I am disgusted with those who care not one whit about the lives of their own families, let alone the rest of the world.  You want to risk your life, fine … go parachute jumping, or join the army and ask for duty in Afghanistan.  But nobody has the right to willfully and maliciously put others at risk for their own pleasure.

Typically, I would have no problem with the president of the nation weighing in on when schools should re-open.  But these are not typical times and we have no real president, just a fake who has only his own self-interest in mind.  And Trump is not merely ‘weighing in’, but is attempting to bully, browbeat, and dominate the conversation, as he does with most everything.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had issued strict guidelines that should be observed in re-opening schools this fall.  We should all listen, for the lives of our children are the single most important thing in the world to us.  But keep in mind that our children’s lives do not matter to Donald Trump.

Trump wants schools to re-open in full asap.  Why?  Because, he wants businesses to re-open and be booming long before election day on November 3rd, so he can point to a thriving economy.  Businesses need employees in order to be fully functional.  Employees have young children who cannot be left alone while mummy and daddy go to work.  Hence, the schools must reopen, in the mind (such as it is) of Donald Trump.  Just one more example of this nation’s narrative to put profit over people. And so …


Why the heck are one hundred and twenty-seven thousand people wasting their time ‘liking’ this post???  Do people really have nothing better to do with their time than like and re-tweet such ignorant, malicious tweets?

Now, there was a time when the president could bluster and bully all he wanted, but the CDC had integrity and would stand by what was right.  That was then, this is now.  There was a time we had a president who was intelligent and caring.  There was a time we had a functional Congress.  There was a time when we had an independent Judicial branch.  None of that applies today.

A few hours after the tweet, a press briefing was held during which Mike Pence said the CDC will issue new guidance on re-opening schools next week.  Meanwhile, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said that his earlier recommendations shouldn’t be used as an excuse for not returning children to classrooms.  What a cop out.  I would have resigned (in a very public manner) before I would have capitulated on such a critical issue.

There is nothing more valuable to this nation than our children … not industry, not entertainment, and for damn sure not Donald Trump’s re-election!  Our children are our hope for the future … they are our tomorrow.  I would like to think that states and school districts will make their decisions on whether or not to re-open based on the situation in their area, but … Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from any state or district that doesn’t re-open, saying …

“We hope that most schools are going to be open. They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed.  No way.  We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”

Never mind that in nearly every state in the nation, the number of new cases has surged.  Never mind that re-opening bars, restaurants, beaches and hair salons was a stupid thing to do, but this … opening schools while the virus is raging … is beyond stupid.  I don’t have school-age children, but if I did, and if I were forced to send my child back to school, I would either homeschool or move.  I hope every other parent feels as strongly about this as I do.

Okay, friends, I now return you to your regularly scheduled lives.  Smile.  😖

Post Brexit Trade Deals

Over the years, the U.S. has taken unhealthy shortcuts to increase profits in nearly every industry, including agriculture. Poultry farms have sacrificed hygiene for increased production, and so chicken is washed with chlorine and other chemicals to kill off harmful bacteria that is likely to be present on carcasses. The UK and EU have worked to maintain higher standards so that such chemicals are not required to make their chicken safe. Six months ago, the UK government promised the people they would NOT import chlorinated chicken from the U.S., but now it appears that the UK is set to back down on that promise in order to secure a trade deal with the dishonest “leader” of the U.S. Our friend David writes about this from the UK perspective …


Boris Johnson (BoJo) has recently announced a trade deal made with America which  will have Chlorinated chickens on supermarket shelves within weeks.The US has wanted a way into Europe for years with Chlorinated chicken but has not been able to because the system of washing the birds was thought to allow for poor hygiene along the supply chain.

The system is that slaughtered birds are gutted and examined before being sent for this final chemical wash or  Pathogen Reduction Treatment. Now I won’t maintain that this method isn’t perfectly safe but the US have been a little peeeved not to be able to export their birds to the EU since 1997.Why ? Well it’s because the EU including the UK have a system for preparing birds which don’t allow for poor hygiene along the supply chain and needs only air and water to prepare it for the table (and cooking…

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Just A Little Bit Of Snark …

I’m going to take the rare option of starting today’s snarky snippets with a humorous piece before indulging in snark-worthy detritus.

Oh, da embarrassment!!!

Brant-WalkerBrant Walker is the Mayor of Alton, Illinois, population 26,528.  Like every other city, town and municipality in the U.S. right now, public gatherings are discouraged and isolation is the recommended norm.  Seems the people of Alton didn’t much like the idea of staying home, though, and after the Alton police reported to Mayor Walker that people were still defying the request, the Mayor told police to crack down, to use their discretion.

The mayor even held a press briefing, where he urged the citizens of Alton …

“These are very serious times and I’m begging you to please stay at home.”

Less than 48 hours later, police broke up a gathering at Hiram’s Tavern in downtown Alton.  Walker made the announcement the next day …

“At approximately 1am on Sunday morning, I was informed by the Police Chief that the Alton Police Department was investigating and stopping a social gathering in downtown Alton that was occurring in violation of the provisions of the statewide “Stay At Home” order.

I was also made aware that my wife was in attendance at this prohibited social gathering. I instructed the Police Chief to treat her as he would any citizen violating the “Stay At Home” order and to ensure that she received no special treatment.

My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance she exhibited a stunning lack of judgement. She now faces the same consequences for her ill-advised decision as the other individuals who chose to violate the “Stay At Home” order during this incident.

I am embarrassed by this incident and apologize to the citizens of Alton for any embarrassment this incident may cause our City.”

Oh, the embarrassment!!!  But I have to give kudos and thumbs up to Mayor Walker for insisting that his wife receive no special treatment … how many people in power do you know who would have done the same?  I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he next saw his wife, and I would have hated to be the wife!

Jair … a Donnie clone?

Donald Trump has hinted at firing Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and point man for the daily briefings on the coronavirus.  Why?  Likely because Dr. Fauci has corrected Trump’s misstatements on more than a few occasions, and because Dr. Fauci is a scientist, a man who deals in facts.  Donnie doesn’t much like facts.  He likes ‘yes-men’, and Dr. Fauci, though he tries hard to be diplomatic, is not a yes-man.  Still, Trump has stopped short of firing him, likely because of strong warnings from his advisors, a few of whom, at least, were born with a brain.

President Trump Holds Joint Press Conference With Brazilian President Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro (l) and Trump 

Swivel to the south, to Brazil and Dictator President Jair Bolsonaro who, I have said on more than one occasion, is a Donnie-clone.  Yesterday, Bolsonaro fired his very popular Health Minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, for much the same reason Trump has been hinting at firing Dr. Fauci … because he didn’t pander to him.  Just as Donnie is more concerned with his precious economy than he is the lives of the people of the U.S., Bolsonaro was also more concerned with Profit over People.  Said Bolsonaro …

“I know … life is priceless. But the economy and jobs must return to normal.”

I would like to ask both Donnie and Jair a question:  How do you plan to get businesses back up and running in order to fuel your precious damn ‘economy’ if all the people who do the real work, are dead?  The billionaire CEOs are useless … they do not stand for 8 hours a day putting bolts and roof liners into cars on the assembly line, they do not cook the food that is served in restaurants, and they do not serve the endless stream of customers who put their money into the economy.  For that matter, Donnie and Jair … who do you think will buy the goods and services you purport to re-start if you have nary a care for the lives of We the People?

Jair Bolsonaro and Donnie Trump are two peas in a pod … neither has a smidge of foresight, neither a concern for the average person.  They see the world in U.S. dollars and Brazilian reals.  Not much else matters to them.  Jerks.trump-bolsonaro

While you were napping …

The nation and the media have had a single focus for the past month or so:  the coronavirus.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch … Trump and his minions have been taking advantage of the fact that nobody seems to give a shit about anything else going on in the country, and they have been busy little beavers indeed.

Yesterday, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), declared that it is not “appropriate and necessary” for the government to limit mercury and other harmful pollutants from power plants, even though every utility in America has complied with standards put in place in 2011 under President Barack Obama.

Some coal executives have lobbied for the rollback, calling the Obama-era rule one of the worst examples of what Trump has labeled the “war on coal.”  The rule in question, known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), targets a powerful neurotoxin that can affect the IQ and motor skills of children, even in utero. Between 2006, when states began to curb mercury from coal plants, and 2016, when the Obama-era rule took full effect, emissions have declined 85 percent.  And now … the EPA has said

Yet another example of the republican’s motto:  Profit over People.

On a brighter note …

You may have forgotten, amidst all the detritus over the last three-plus years, but back in the day, when we had an actual President and a real First Lady, said First Lady Michelle Obama was the mover and the shaker behind the higher standards for school meal programs.

The year after Trump took office, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reversed those standards, particularly the ones that applied to sodium and whole grains in our children’s school diet.  But this week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland vacated the rule, saying …

“The court concludes that the rule is not inconsistent with federal law, it does not reflect unexplained and arbitrary decision making, it does not represent an unacknowledged and unexplained change in position …”

A little thing, perhaps, but … we must take our victories wherever we can find them these days.

And on that note, I will leave you and go try to find a bit of peace somewhere, a place where I can breathe and stem the flow of the tears that seem to assail me at random times these days.

Little Donnie

Profit Over People

You may remember my post, Profiting from a Crisis last week and my frustration that the plastics industry is attempting to profit from the pandemic crisis by insisting that single-use plastics are safer than re-usables.  Then I stumbled across this story  yesterday. It is part of a joint investigation with the PBS series Frontline that includes the documentary Plastic Wars, that premiered March 31 on PBS stations and online.  If this one doesn’t raise your hackles, I don’t know what will.  I’ll let the story speak for itself …

Plastic Wars: Industry Spent Millions Selling Recycling — To Sell More Plastic

Editor’s note: NPR will be publishing stories from this investigative series in the weeks ahead, even as we focus our current coverage on the coronavirus pandemic. But here’s a look at some of our key findings. You can watch the full documentary film from this investigation on the PBS series Frontline.

For decades, Americans have been sorting their trash believing that most plastic could be recycled. But the truth is, the vast majority of all plastic produced can’t be or won’t be recycled. In 40 years, less than 10% of plastic has ever been recycled.

In a joint investigation, NPR and the PBS series Frontline found that oil and gas companies — the makers of plastic — have known that all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite.

Here are our key takeaways from our investigation:

Plastics industry had “serious doubt” recycling would ever be viable

Starting in the late 1980s, the plastics industry spent tens of millions of dollars promoting recycling through ads, recycling projects and public relations, telling people plastic could be and should be recycled.

But their own internal records dating back to the 1970s show that industry officials long knew that recycling plastic on a large scale was unlikely to ever be economically viable.

A report sent to top industry executives in April 1973 called recycling plastic “costly” and “difficult.” It called sorting it “infeasible,” saying “there is no recovery from obsolete products.” Another document a year later was candid: There is “serious doubt” widespread plastic recycling “can ever be made viable on an economic basis.”

The industry promoted recycling to keep plastic bans at bay

Despite this, three former top officials, who have never spoken publicly before, said the industry promoted recycling as a way to beat back a growing tide of antipathy toward plastic in the 1980s and ’90s. The industry was facing initiatives to ban or curb the use of plastic. Recycling, the former officials told NPR and Frontline, became a way to preempt the bans and sell more plastic.

“There was never an enthusiastic belief that recycling was ultimately going to work in a significant way,” says Lew Freeman, former vice president of government affairs for the industry’s lobbying group, then called the Society of the Plastics Industry, or SPI.

Another top official, Larry Thomas, who led SPI for more than a decade until 2000, says the strategy to push recycling was simple:

“The feeling was the plastics industry was under fire, we got to do what it takes to take the heat off, because we want to continue to make plastic products,” Thomas says. “If the public thinks the recycling is working, then they’re not going to be as concerned about the environment.”

More recycling means fewer profits for oil and gas companies

In interviews, current plastics industry officials acknowledged that recycling the vast majority of plastic hasn’t worked in the past. But they said the industry is funding new technology that they believe will get recycling plastic up to scale. The goal, they say, is to recycle 100% of the plastic they make.

“Recycling has to get more efficient, more economic. We’ve got to do a better job collecting the waste, sorting it,” says Jim Becker, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.’s vice president of sustainability. “Five, 10 years ago, the industry response was a little more combative. Today, it truly is not just PR. We don’t like to see [waste in the environment] either. We really don’t. We want to solve this.”

But the more plastic is recycled, the less money the industry will make selling new plastic. And those profits have become increasingly important. Companies have told shareholders that profits from using oil and gas for transport are expected to decline in coming years with better fuel efficiency and the increasing use of electric cars. Industry analysts expect oil and gas demands from the chemicals industry will surpass the demand from the transport side in the coming decade. Plastic production overall is now expected to triple by 2050, and once again, the industry is spending money on ads and public relations to promote plastic and recycling.

Plastic is now more prevalent than it’s ever been and harder to recycle. Gas prices remain at historic lows, making new plastic cheaper than recycled plastic. And the industry now produces many more different — and more complex — kinds of plastics that are more costly to sort and in many cases can’t be recycled at all. Efforts to reduce plastic consumption are mounting nationwide, but any plan to slow the growth of plastic will face an industry with billions of dollars of future profits at stake.

Yet another example of big business’ and the GOP’s motto:  Profit Over People.  I don’t know about you guys, but I am more determined than ever to stop using single-use plastics.  It’s way past time for industries to find a viable alternative … but they won’t do so until we force them to.

Essential??? I Think Not!!!

Merriam-Webster defines the word “essential” as:

Of the utmost importance: BASIC, INDISPENSABLE, NECESSARY

When I think about things that qualify under that definition, I think first of air, food, water, and shelter.  In truth, with only those we can survive.  Our lifestyles have, by necessity, added certain other things to the list, such as clothing, soap, medications, electricity, etc.  Now, I could expand the list even more, in light of 21st century living, to include companionship, the internet, a certain level of income – enough to pay for the other ‘essentials’ only, and maybe I would even include pets.

However, under no circumstances can I consider guns to be essential … not by the broadest stretch of the imagination.  And yet, that is exactly what the buffoon in the Oval Office, coerced by one of the nation’s largest lobbying groups, has decided.  Guns are an essential part of everyday living.  Hmmmm … makes me wonder just how I have survived all these 68 years without a gun?

In recent weeks, governors stepped up to the plate where the federal government dropped the ball, and ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses, including gun shops.  Well, never let it be said that the National Rifle Association (NRA) took that lying down!  They contacted former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, incoming Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and a former NRA employee who is now a White House staffer.  At the end of the day, the Department of Homeland Security added the gun industry to its “critical infrastructure” list, prompting governors around the country to declare them “essential businesses” that can operate during the pandemic, just as critical as grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies.


The FBI conducted 3.7 million background checks in March, a new single-month record.  More than 1% of the entire population of this country bought guns in a single month!  What the hell?  Do they think they can kill the coronavirus by shooting it?

There is so much wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin!

First off, consider this … people are confined to their homes more with their families.  In some cases, this is probably a good thing – families will bond in new ways (although I dread the new ‘baby boom’ that is sure to emerge around Christmas time, for the world is already over-populated).  But, in many cases, families will begin to get on one another’s nerves and I fully expect the incidence of domestic violence to increase significantly.  Bad enough that papa is smacking mama and the kiddies around, but if papa has that brand-new gun in the drawer of his nightstand …ambulanceNow think about this one … people are getting frustrated by the lack of such ‘essentials’ as toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and often even an onion or an apple are in short supply at the grocery.  What about that guy with a bit of a temper, who has a list of ten things and can only find one when he’s at the grocery, but he sees another customer with two carts overflowing with … yep, you got it … toilet paper.  He doesn’t think, but reaches for that gun in his pocket …ambulance-2I’ve said more than once that the suicide rate in this country will double or more this year, due to the depression that is inevitable for some of us in this state of isolation.  So, John Doe has lost his job, cannot pay his rent, his lousy $1,200 government subsidy is long gone, and his family refuses to visit or allow him to visit for … who knows how long?  He might take an overdose and might survive that, but if he has a gun …graveIf you had any doubts … if you had so much as a shred of doubt that the government of this country is bought and paid for by the NRA, those doubts should be erased by now.  We the People, our lives, our well-being, do not matter one bit to the likes of Trump and his cronies.  Yes, we need the grocery stores to stay open, for without food we die, and in this nation, few are self-sufficient in growing their own food.  Yes, we need the hospitals, medical centers and pharmacies to remain open, for without them, some people will die.  But, if the gun shops close, lives may actually be saved!

At the end of 2017, there were 393 million guns in civilian hands … in a nation of 330 million people!  Think on that one … why do we even need gun shops, if there are already more guns than people in this country???  They for damn certain are NOT essential!

The average person in this country is already in fear of picking up some germ at the grocery store, and now … in addition … we better be looking for suspicious bulges in men’s pants pockets (no, not those).  In recent years, I have been known to walk out of a store if I saw somebody carrying a gun, but in today’s mentality of fear, it’s likely that every Tom, Dick and Harry will be “packing heat”.  And I’m willing to bet that the majority of those 3.7 million who bought guns last month don’t have a clue how to use them!  Just last week in Michigan, a man accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun he bought to defend himself against “pandemic-related chaos”.

The United States is the only country on the entire globe with such a gun culture that guns are considered more important than books, education, clothing, or even dentists.  This nation needs to do some serious thinking about its priorities.  Personally, if I have to have a gun to feel safe, then this is not a life worth living, and I feel more threatened by a gun than I do any virus.