Snarky Snippets Are Baaaaack!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a snarky snippets post, though in truth almost all of my posts contain an element of snark!  Anyway … I have just a couple of short ones for you this afternoon …


Killing us softly with …

The big news yesterday was that the U.S. has seen a significant drop in life expectancy … the biggest decrease since WWII.  My first thought was … “Well duh.  625,000+ people dead in the U.S. from the pandemic – what do you expect?”  And certainly, the pandemic has played a role in the decline in life expectancy, but it isn’t the only culprit.  Turns out that the ever-expanding income disparity is one of the biggest culprits, and it has been bringing down life expectancy rates for a few years now, even before the pandemic.

During the second half of the 2010s, life expectancy fell on a sustained basis for the first time since the fighting of World War II killed several hundred thousand Americans.

It’s hard to imagine a more alarming sign of a society’s well-being than an inability to keep its citizens alive. While some of the reasons are mysterious, others are fairly clear. American society has become far more unequal than it used to be, and the recent increases in mortality are concentrated among working-class Americans, especially those without a four-year college degree.

For many, daily life lacks the structure, status and meaning that it once had, as the Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have explained. Many people feel less of a connection to an employer, a labor union, a church or community groups. They are less likely to be married. They are more likely to endure chronic pain and to report being unhappy.

These trends have led to a surge of “deaths of despair” (a phrase that Case and Deaton coined), from drugs, alcohol and suicide. Other health problems, including diabetes and strokes, have also surged among the working class. Notably, the class gaps in life expectancy seem to be starker in the U.S. than in most other rich countries.

Covid has also caused sharp increases in racial inequality. As a Times article on the new report explains:

From 2019 to 2020, Hispanic people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy — three years — and Black Americans saw a decrease of 2.9 years. White Americans experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years.

Covid has also killed more men than women, Case and Deaton pointed out, increasing the mortality gap between the sexes, after years in which it had mostly been shrinking. Life expectancy was 5.7 years longer for women last year, up from 5.1 years in 2019. The gap had fallen to a low of 4.8 years in the early 2010s.

The bottom line: Covid has both worsened and exposed a crisis in health inequality. But that crisis existed before Covid and will continue to exist when the pandemic is over – if it ever is.


Spot on!!!

You all know my feelings on rich bastards wasting their money on not-so-cheap thrills like building a rocket ship and flying to the edge of space for no other reason that they can afford to do it.  The latest was Jeff Bezos, and frankly I’m so disgusted with this ‘man’ and his lack of compassion, lack of humility, that I am seriously considering canceling my Amazon account permanently.  Anyway … talk show host Gayle King got the best of him in my view yesterday when she spoke with Bezos on CBS This Morning and she asked him …

“All of you keep saying this is not a competition, and I find that so hard to believe because you’re all type A personalities. Don’t you want to be first? It really to you isn’t a game of whose is bigger? Honestly, it really isn’t?”

I nearly choked with laughter!  Penis-envy run amok!


Filiwhat?  Filiwho?  Filihow?

President Biden made an appearance here in Cincinnati, Ohio yesterday and at the end of the day he participated in a CNN Town Hall along with Don Lemon.  When asked about the filibuster and whether it should be killed off in the Senate, he was far less forceful than I would have liked.

“There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done. Nothing at all will get done.”

WTF???  Nothing at all is getting done now!!!  The Senate Republicans have all but killed the For the People Act, the infrastructure bill, and anything else that might be on the table with their damned filibuster!  Joe did say he wouldn’t mind seeing it altered to the ways of yore, when senators actually had to stand on the floor of the Senate and expound for hours, but let’s face it … the Republicans have enough hot air in them to ramble and rant for days without coming up for air!


Moscow Mitch said WHAT???

You may have noticed that a number of Republicans have been urging people in this country to get the Covid vaccine this week … people like Mitch McConnell, Steve Scalise, and even Fox’ Sean Hannity.  I note we haven’t heard the positive take from the absolutely disgusting Tucker Carlson, but then he marches to the beat of a different drummer, so don’t hold your breath.

I’m not sure what triggered the Republicans’ sudden faux concern for people, but hopefully their constituents listen to them, for as long as we continue to have some 30% of the nation refusing to be vaccinated, we are NOT going to end the pandemic.  Period.  One of my favourite late-night comedians has a humorous take on the newly-discovered consciences that I think will give you a chuckle or two. This is, in my opinion, one of the best Colbert has done!

The Good, The Bad, And The … Funny!

I vaguely remember the days, back before the year 2016, when I went to bed at night feeling safe and secure.  I can almost remember the days when I didn’t automatically associate the word “Republican” with hatred, racism, greed, cruelty, cheating, lying, and obnoxious.  Ahhhhh … those were the good ol’ days!  Long story short, I have more snark built up since my last snippets post, so … let me share just a few with you!


Kiran Ahuja has a new job!

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on President Biden’s nominee for the Office of Personnel Management, Kiran Ahuja.  Ultimately Ms. Ahuja, a civil rights lawyer and veteran of the Obama administration, was confirmed, but only after Vice-President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, because not one single Republican was willing to vote to confirm her.  Why?  Well, for one thing she is an Indian-born immigrant.  According to Josh Hawley – you remember him, the guy who did a fist pump in a show of solidarity with the terrorists who attacked the Capitol on January 6th

“I’m concerned that as the federal government’s H.R. director, Ms. Ahuja could use her platform to promote radical ideologies that seek to divide rather than unite the American people. She could bring critical race theory back into federal government training.”

GASP!!!  She could … require sensitivity training by those who make hiring decisions for the federal government!  Oh, wouldn’t it be awful to teach people that it is wrong to discriminate!  She could actually insist that hiring decisions be based on the skill level of the applicants rather than the colour of their skin!

Apparently, the congressional Republicans want an all-white cabinet, and the difficulty of Ms. Ahuja’s appointment was not the first sign of trouble.

Shortly after taking office, President Biden nominated Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Ms. Tanden is also Indian American, and this time, Biden pulled her nomination once Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (yes, he of filibuster and voter suppression fame) made it clear he would not vote to confirm her.  However last month, the President appointed her to be a senior White House advisor, a position for which no senate confirmation is necessary.  Take that, Republicans … and Republican wannabe Manchin!

And then, there was Deb Haaland, a Native American who was chosen to be Secretary of the Interior, a department that has a long history of being used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples.  Ms. Haaland was ultimately confirmed in March, but only after being grilled at length as Republicans tried to paint her as a radical.  Said Republican Senator Steve Daines from Montana …

“I’m deeply concerned with the congresswoman’s support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America.”

Um, Mr. Daines … the population of Montana is less than 1% of the population of this country … put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I am very thrilled that the Biden cabinet looks much different than that of the former guy, that there is diversity and qualified people with experience making the everyday decisions that affect our lives.  I sincerely hope that I never see the day when there is a Republican president and a Republican majority in the Senate again, for all this progress would likely be undone within a matter of a few weeks.


But there was a big, bright spot today!

Judge Peter A. Cahill sentenced former police officer Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd.  This sentence will not bring Mr. Floyd back to life, but … it is consequential, and I am very pleased.  This is very nearly the longest sentence any police officer has received in this country for unnecessary killing in the line of duty and it is long past due.  It is, to the best of my knowledge, the longest sentence given to an officer for the murder of an unarmed Black person.

Shortly after reading the sentence from the bench, Judge Cahill issued a 22-page memorandum about his decision, writing, “Part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens ‘voice and respect.’” But Mr. Chauvin, the judge wrote, had instead “treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.”

The maximum sentence possible would have been 40 years, and the presumptive sentence would have been 12.5 years.  I think the main thing to take away from this sentencing is that it sends a strong message to police officers that the blanket concept of ‘qualified immunity’ isn’t going to protect you when you use excessive force, that times are changing and police, just like anybody else, can be held accountable for their actions.

In the end, Judge Cahill said two “aggravating factors” had affected his decision to sentence Mr. Chauvin to more than 22 years: Mr. Chauvin had acted with particular cruelty, the judge said, and had abused his authority as an officer of the law.  This needs to become the rule, not the exception!  Mr. Chauvin, who is currently 45 years of age, will likely be eligible for parole after serving 2/3 of his sentence, or in about 15 years.


For the People … yeah, right

I am still furious over the Senate Republicans’ unanimous vote to deny even debate on the For the People Act that would have ensured our rights to vote, despite nearly every state in the nation attempting to suppress that right.  But yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Georgia over its new voting law, saying that the controversial measure is intended to restrict ballot access to Black voters.  In his news conference yesterday, AG Garland said …

“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

Thumbs up to the Attorney General!  👍 👍

The bill, SB202, has already passed the Georgia State Legislature and been signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp.  In effect, it makes sweeping changes to the state’s absentee voting rules, adds new voter identification mandates and nearly cuts in half the amount of time for voters to request a mail-in ballot.  It also outlaws passing out food or drinks to voters within 150 feet of a polling place or too close to voters waiting in line.

These voter suppression tactics, while aimed largely at Blacks, will also negatively impact Hispanics, working mothers, the elderly, college students, and the poor.  I sincerely hope that the Justice Departments case wins the day, thereby sending messages to other states, but my best guess is that more lawsuits will be required.

Y’know … We the People have a lot of rights per the U.S. Constitution, but I think perhaps there is none more important than our right to vote, to have a voice in our government.


Late night host/comedian Stephen Colbert talked a bit about the travesty of justice regarding the For the People Act, as well as a number of other issues I’ve written about recently, and his monologue actually brought a laugh gurgling up from my throat, so I hope you’ll check it out and maybe you’ll laugh too!

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

I’m doing something a bit different for tonight’s music post, because I came across a clip of James Taylor appearing on Stephen Colbert’s program (pre-pandemic days … late 2019 or early 2020 I believe) that I found both informative and funny as heck, so I’m sharing that instead of an actual song tonight!  If you still need a song, there is a list of a few of my previous posts by James Taylor at the end of this post!


Stephen Meets The Bidens

Today is family day in my household … putting up the tree, wrapping, and other holiday-related tasks, so in the interest of having time to spend with my gorgeous girls, but still not letting my wonderful readers down, I have asked Stephen Colbert to fill in for me today.  This is his interview with Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, the next President and First Lady of the United States!  We get to know a bit more about Dr. Jill Biden and frankly, I was impressed!  Such a difference from the current holder of that title.

Take a look, and I’ll be back tomorrow with my usual fare!

Just A Wee Bit Of Snarky

Steve Bannon has been banned from Twitter … I hope for the rest of his days.  What did he do?  He called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the FBI director, Christopher Wray, and the posting of their heads outside the White House as a “warning”.

“Second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci … no I actually want to go a step farther but the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man. I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put their heads on pikes, right, I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats, you either get with the program or you’re gone.”

I have long said that Steve Bannon is a nasty piece of work … there can no longer be any doubt in anyone’s mind.  Trump & Co have been inciting violence with their constant charges of voter fraud (virtually non-existent) and their claims that ‘democrats are stealing the election’.  Newt Gingrich, former Republican House Speaker, went so far as to say that the people counting the ballots should be ‘locked up’, but at least he didn’t call for their execution.  All of this does nothing but encourage Trump supporters who already seem prone to violence.  Thus far, there have been no reports of incidents involving injury or death, but gun sales are up again, and it’s only a matter of time.

Philadelphia police arrested two men who were allegedly involved in a plot to attack the Pennsylvania Convention Center where ballots were being counted on Thursday night. Police were tipped off, possibly from a concerned family member of one of the men, who had driven 300 miles from Virginia.  But what if the plot had been successful?  People would have died, ballots would have been lost … and all for what?


Paula White – remember who she is?  She is a televangelist and Trump’s “spiritual advisor”, chairperson of his “evangelical advisory board”, and a nutcase by any definition of the word.  I’ve written about Ms. White before, and in fact back in 2017 she won the cherished “Idiot of the Week” award. Since then, she has featured in a few other posts here, mostly ‘Snarky Snippets’, for there is much in Ms. White to snark about.

On Wednesday night, Ms. White led a ‘prayer service’ to ensure Trump’s victory {cough, cough}.  She called for help from ‘angels’ in Africa and South America … no idea why she picked those two continents, both of which are comprised of countries that Trump has referred to as ‘shithole countries’.  But, if there was ever any doubt that this woman is a lunatic … just watch this short clip of her Wednesday night service …

All l can do is shake my head and wonder what this woman has been smoking.


Comedian Stephen Colbert led into his nightly monologue on Thursday night with a serious moment …

Words To Ponder …

Ibram-X-KendiMost every one of us would say, if asked, that we are not racist.  We don’t think of Black people as intellectually inferior as our ancestors did, we don’t see them as someone to be feared or hated simply based on skin colour.  We have spoken out for equal rights for Blacks and other minorities, defend equal voting rights, housing rights, and employment rights for all.  But, is there a difference between being ‘not racist’ and being ‘antiracist’?  Dr. Ibram X. Kendi thinks there is, and after listening to him explain last night, I’m inclined to agree.

Dr. Kendi is an author, historian, and scholar of race and discriminatory policy in the U.S.  He currently serves as director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, and previously held the same position at the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at the American University.  I have read one of his books, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and am hoping to read his next to latest, How to be an Antiracist, for which he won the 2016 National Book Award for Non-Fiction.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019, as well as numerous other awards and honours.

In the U.S. today, in light of the recent killings of innocent, unarmed black people by police, the Black Lives Matter movement is more widespread than at any other time.  Unfortunately, it has taken a back seat to such matters as the upcoming election and the coronavirus pandemic, but still, many more people are, it seems, becoming aware of the systemic racism that never went away in this country.  And now, we have a president who would re-write the history of our nation to eliminate such dark eras as slavery, making it more important than ever that we stand up, that we do not allow the darkest days of our history to be whitewashed, but that we own them and learn from them.

I’d like to direct you to the clip my friend Herb sent me last night that I found thought-provoking, and that made me take a closer look within my own self.  This is a 12-minute clip from a June interview of Dr. Kendi with Stephen Colbert, where Colbert steps outside his jokester persona and asks serious, intelligent questions of Dr. Kendi.  Please take the time to watch, listen, and think about Dr. Kendi’s words.

What did you think?  Did it make you stop and ponder a bit?  If you’re interested in Dr. Kendi and his work, please check out his website.

♫ Fire and Rain ♫ (Redux)

My apologies for yet another redux … I was working on a different song, but found that my heart just wasn’t into it, and this one has been playing in my mind for several days now, so … nothing wrong with replaying one that makes me happy (and that I actually know most of the words to), is there?  And … I have added something to the original!  Taylor refers to a clip he did with late night comedian Stephen Colbert … I went in search of, found it, and have added it here for a bit of humour added to the music!


I love James Taylor’s voice … it is sensual, somehow.  It is … as if he is singing to me and only me.  I did not know, until doing a brief bit of research for this music post, that he had been heavily into drugs.  Silly me, eh … what else should I have expected?  Sigh.

Taylor wrote this in 1968 at three different times. He started it in London, where he auditioned for The Beatles’ Apple Records. He later worked on it in a Manhattan Hospital, and finished it while in drug rehab at The Austin Riggs Center in Massachusetts. In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor explained: “The first verse is about my reactions to the death of a friend (that would be Suzanne – explained below). The second verse is about my arrival in this country with a monkey on my back, and there Jesus is an expression of my desperation in trying to get through the time when my body was aching and the time was at hand when I had to do it. And the third verse of that song refers to my recuperation in Austin Riggs which lasted about five months.”

“It concerned a girl called Susanne I knew who they put into an isolation cell and she couldn’t take it and committed suicide.”  Her name was Susie Schnerr, and Taylor also explained that it was months before he found out about her death, as his friends withheld the news so it wouldn’t distract Taylor from his burgeoning music career.

In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor added: “I always felt rather bad about the line, ‘The plans they made put an end to you,’ because ‘they’ only meant ‘ye gods,’ or basically ‘the Fates.’ I never knew her folks but I always wondered whether her folks would hear that and wonder whether it was about them.”

When Taylor performed this in 2015 on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he and Colbert had some fun, with Taylor explaining that he was still working on it. “I wrote that song in 1970, and I just hadn’t seen that much back then – mostly fire and rain, so that’s why I keep saying it over and over again in the song,” he said.

Taylor then explained that he had never seen a calzone at the time, but if he had, he would have definitely added it to the lyric. Taylor and Colbert then performed an updated version of the song with new lyrics. A sample:

“I’ve seen man buns, Myspace and the Baha Men, but I never thought I’d see a new Star Wars again”

“I’ve seen grandmas reading 50 Shades of Grey”

“Quidditch teams and skinny jeans cutting blood off from my thighs”

Oh my!

And here’s James with Stephen Colbert in the updated version …

Fire And Rain
James Taylor

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can’t remember who to send it to

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Won’t you look down upon me, jesus
You’ve got to help me make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day
My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Been walking my mind to an easy time my back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line to talk about things
To come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I’d see you one more time again
There’s just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I’d see you, thought I’d see you fire and rain, now

Songwriters: James Taylor / James V Taylor
Fire And Rain lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC