Harden Schools, Hardened Hearts

When someone, particularly a politician, opens his mouth and speaks, he should logically have considered the ramifications of what he says. Joseph Urban has written of a not-improbably conversation with the ignoble Ted Cruz that is at once both humorous and frightening. Is this road from Cruz’ remark about doors really such a stretch of the imagination these days? Thank you, Joseph, for this funny and yet thought-provoking post!

The Old Liberal

After the latest school shooting in Uvalde. Well, this is 5 days later so maybe not the latest. At any rate, after the regularly scheduled school shooting, the party of guns had possible answers to this national event.

Luckily I was able to catch the attention of Ted Cruz. It wasn’t hard since I had a camera. This is the same Ted Cruz who cleverly escapes the frequent Texas electrical grid failures by flying to Cancun. The guy whose father helped assassinate JFK. Not what I say, that’s what former President Donald says. The man Trump called an “unstable person”.If anyone should know…

So, I asked Ted to explain how he would make schools safe.

Ted: We need to make schools safe. As my good friend President Trump as said, schools need doors that lock. From the inside. Doors inside the school that lock.

Me: As a teacher of over…

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Only In ‘America’

Yesterday afternoon, just as I was beginning to work on a good people post for this morning, the breaking news update jumped onto my screen …

Texas school shooting leaves at least 2 dead

I stopped what I was doing and went in search of information … turns out that, as you all know by now, 19 students and one teacher, Eva Mireles, were killed … or let’s call a spade a spade … they were brutally murdered while in school, the one place our children should be able to feel safe!  The death toll may yet rise if some of the students taken to the hospital don’t survive, or if students still missing are later reported to have died.  Plus, the 18-year-old shooter shot his grandmother, who is in critical condition in the hospital, before setting out for Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

This, my friends, is what Texas Governor Greg Abbott proudly said just one year ago …

No license or training is needed. 🙄 YOU, Greg Abbott, have the blood of these children on your hands and you will never be able to wash it off!  Senator Mitch McConnell, who has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), claims to be “horrified and heartbroken” and yet time and time and time again he has had the opportunity to pass meaningful gun legislation that might have prevented the 18-year-old shooter from getting his hands on a gun.  YOU, Mitch McConnell, and every other Republican legislator who has blocked gun regulations, also have blood on your hands!!!  And U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, sent thoughts and prayers and said he disdains any discussion on gun legislation.  YOU, Cancún Cruz, also have blood on your hands!!!

Days like today, I am so very thankful for a President who is compassionate and caring.  President Biden gave a speech yesterday evening where he said …

“Another massacre at a Texas elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders. As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone, the courage to do more and then stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action. I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”

And former President Barack Obama issued a statement …

“Nearly 10 years after Sandy Hook — and 10 days after Buffalo — our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies. It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it’s another tragedy — a quieter but no less tragic one — for families to wait another day.”

I cannot help but share the pain of the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents and friends of those 19 children tonight.  Picture being a parent at work, getting that phone call …

Eleven days ago, ten people were murdered in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.  Yesterday, 20 people, 19 of them children, were murdered in school, just two days before the end of the school year.  Where are all those ‘pro-life’ people???  Probably out there carrying signs that read “You can’t take my guns!” or some such drivel.  My granddaughter, when I told her about the school shooting, asked what kind of country this has become.  Not a very nice one, I’m afraid.

Just as I was finishing this post, I saw one from John Pavlovitz that I hope you’ll take a moment to read, for he said it far better than I ever could.  I hope you can understand why this post replaced today’s ‘good people’ post.  I will try to get one out later this week, but if not, there’s always next Wednesday.

YOU Do Not Walk Away From This One

Our friend Roger has something to say about yesterday’s mass shooting that apparently was racially motivated and perpetrated by an 18-year-old white male. Roger’s words need no introduction by me except to say that I am in full agreement with him. Thank you, Roger.

One additional note:  There has been yet another mass shooting this morning at a church in California.  That’s three (that we know of) in one weekend.  Welcome to the USofA.

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

Buffalo shooting: Ten dead in suspected race attack at New York state store:

Inditement Buffalo

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-61452958

There is next to zero chance of the following becoming an actual legal action. This is not the point of this post. The theme of this post concerns public responsibility, the consequences of polemic actions and the lack of concern to any victims.

I contend the following should be considered for inditement under 18 U.S.Code 373- Solicitation to commit a crime of violence:

Inditement Trump

Donald John Trump

Inditement Cruz

Rafael Edward Cruz

Inditement Majorie Taylor Greene

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Ron DeSantis

Ronald Dion DeSantis

Trump on the grounds of pursuing of a political career by inflammatory rhetoric, Cruz by his recent display on biased hostility to an African American nominee to the Supreme Court; Taylor Greene by sustained, hostile inflammatory rhetoric not suited to the holder of an elected office; De Santis by abuse of his officer as Governor of Florida by direct legislation in…

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Confirmation Hearing Or Political Circus?

Who could have seen it coming, eh?  Yesterday was day #2 of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.  She answered questions for the better part of twelve hours … heck, five minutes of talking does me in.  I have no doubt that Ms. Jackson wished, on more than one occasion, that she could fire back at some of the questions she was asked, but to her credit, she proceeded with dignity and respect, only letting out the occasional sigh to indicate a bit of frustration.

Barring some dramatic revelation that I cannot foresee, I strongly believe that Ms. Jackson will, indeed, become the next Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.  I even think a few of the more … shall we say ‘honest’ Republicans … will vote to confirm her … perhaps Senator Collins of Maine, Senator Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Romney of Utah.  Others are likely to vote ‘Nay’ for a number of stated reasons, but the main reason being that Judge Jackson has two strikes against her:  she is Black, and she is a woman.  Period.

I did not watch the 12-hour confirmation hearing … I really haven’t got either the time or the patience … but I have read numerous accounts of the questions and answers from the day.  The first one to come to my attention was, unsurprisingly, from Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.  Among Blackburn’s false or distorted accusations, she …

  • linked Jackson to the controversy over transgender athletes and women’s sports
  • suggested Jackson would trample parental rights
  • accused Jackson of wanting to put dangerous criminals on the street
  • accused Jackson of saying every judge has a hidden agenda
  • said Jackson praised the 1619 Project
  • said Jackson thinks judges must use ‘critical race theory’ when sentencing criminals

Blackburn went so far as to suggest to Jackson, a Black woman, that white privilege doesn’t exist in America, a country where of the 114 justices to have been confirmed to sit on the highest court in the land, only two have been Black.  She also asked Judge Jackson to “define the word ‘woman’”.  When Jackson told her she couldn’t, at least “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” Blackburn responded with acidity … “The meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?”  Sigh.  Seriously, is this what we’re paying our lawmakers to do?

And then there was good ol’ Ted Cruz, never one to mince words, or even to attempt to make his words sensible. Noting that the judge is a board member of her kids’ private school Georgetown Day, the senator began pulling out books, including Antiracist Baby, in order to claim the school is definitely teaching CRT. “There are portions of this book that I find really quite remarkable. One portion of the book says babies are taught to be racist or anti-racist,” Cruz bellowed, displaying an enlarged page from the book. “Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that babies are racist?”  Her response …

“I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less-than. That they are victims. That they are oppressors.”

 She also noted that her understanding was that “critical race theory is an academic theory is taught in law schools.”

I’m not sure what got into Lindsey Graham … I seriously believe that man has some mental issues!  In the middle of his questioning Judge Jackson, he asked … “What faith are you, by the way?”  Say WHAT???  Since when is religion a qualifier for a seat on the bench???

Then Lindsey began berating Judge Jackson for defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay back in her days as a public defender.  He went on a verbal diatribe, spouting …

“We’re at war, we’re not fighting crime! This is not some passage of time event. As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re going to go back to kill Americans. It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome than letting them go and if it cost $500 million to keep them in jail, keep them in jail because they’ll go back to the fight. Look at the freaking Afghan government made up of former detainees at Gitmo. This whole thing by the left about this war ain’t working!”

And then he stormed out of the hearings without waiting for a response.

John Cornyn, who I typically think of as one of the less toxic Republicans in the Senate, questioned Judge Jackson about her stance on LGBTQ rights, claiming that granting equal rights to LGBTQ people conflicts with the religious beliefs of some people. To which Jackson responded, “Well, senator, that is the nature of a right. That when there is a right, it means that there are limitations on regulation, even if people are regulating pursuant to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

From everything I’ve read and the video clips I have seen, it appears that Judge Jackson handled herself well through the entire ordeal … far better than I would have in similar circumstances!  It’s just too damn bad that the confirmation of a Justice who will serve on the highest court in the nation for life has been turned into a political circus in recent years.  The Supreme Court are the people who will make the decisions we have to live by.  They will decide if women have the right to control their own bodies, whether LGBTQ people should have certain unalienable rights, whether a single religion will force us all into a small, airless box, and whether we have the right to vote.  And yet … the Republicans in Congress seem to care more about the colour of a potential justice’s skin and about her gender.

Note to readers:  This just in from the New York Times“Conservatives are pressuring Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat, to oppose Judge Ketanji Brwn Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Just Two Little Snippets

The thing that occupies my thoughts the most these days is the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.  My heart cries for the people of Ukraine and frankly I would love the opportunity to spit in Mr. Putin’s face!  However, other things also demand my attention, so for the moment I will turn my mind and my angst in other directions.


Address the real problem, Teddy!

Recently, Senator Ted Cruz made the following statement …

“Across this country, Americans are horrified at skyrocketing crime rates, at skyrocketing homicide rates, at skyrocketing burglary rates, at skyrocketing carjacking rates.”

Hmmm … I guess that I am the anomaly, then, for none of those things ‘horrify’ me.  What does horrify me is the alarming increase of racism, the murder of numerous Blacks by police officers, the very people we are told to entrust with our lives.  I am horrified by the utter disregard for the people of this country by certain politicians, many of them newbies from the last election.  I am genuinely horrified at the attempts in the majority of states to restrict voting rights such that Black people, the elderly, college students, and the poor will find it almost impossible to cast a ballot.  I am also horrified by the refusal of the Supreme Court to uphold voting rights and women’s rights, thus obliterating much of the progress that was made over the last century.  I’m horrified by the Republicans and the conservative media blaming every single thing they don’t like on President Biden, while failing to even note his many successes.  Oh yes, my friends, there are many things that should horrify the people of this nation, but crime … I’m not horrified by the crime so much as the failure to effectively address it, to consider the reasons people commit crimes.

Frankly, I’m more afraid of that “law-abiding” gun nut I see walking into the grocery store, or the pickup truck driving down my street with confederate flags in the back window and Trump stickers on the bumper.  If Mr. Cruz, or any other member of Congress, is so horrified by crime in this nation, then there is one thing they can do that will drop crime rates dramatically and have an almost immediate effect:  PUT STRICT GUN LAWS INTO EFFECT!!!  Take a look at crimes committed over the past year or ten years and you’ll find that most are committed with the use of a common tool – a gun.  If people have naught but a knife, a baseball bat, or their fists to subdue their victims, the crime rate is going to plunge dramatically.  Heck, we could probably reduce most police departments by at least 50%!

But the reality is that Ted Cruz couldn’t care less about crime or about the victims of violent crime … his statement was made for the sole purpose of garnering support, as it’s pretty clear he hopes to be on the ballot for president in 2024.  Perhaps he would do better by staying in Texas when the weather gets cold and the lights go out, rather than running fast as he can for the warm beaches of Cancún.


Justice Thomas should resign!

Since the founding of the nation, no spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice has been as overt a political activist as Virginia Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.  Ms. Thomas has a leadership role in the Council for National Policy, a right-wing group with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association, and the Family Research Council.  Most recently, Ms. Thomas took up the battle cry for Donald Trump’s Big Lie, the fantasy that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election and that Trump was actually the winner.  Not only has no evidence been uncovered to support this Big Lie, but the election has been investigated numerous times in nearly every state and deemed to have been the most fair and honest election in the history of the nation.

Ms. Thomas, however, continues even today to work against the people of this country, to attempt to undermine our will, and pressured Republican lawmakers to challenge the election results and appoint alternate slates of electors.  Had they done so, the election would have been decided by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court, of which Clarence Thomas is one of nine justices.  Can we say, “conflict of interest”?

Because Supreme Court justices do not want to be perceived as partisan, they tend to avoid political events and entanglements, and their spouses often keep low profiles. But Clarence and Virginia Thomas are the exceptions to those norms.  In addition to her position at the Council for National Policy, she founded a group called Groundswell with the support of Steve Bannon, the hard-line nationalist and former Trump adviser. It holds a weekly meeting of influential conservatives, many of whom work directly on issues that have come before the court.

For the three decades Justice Thomas has sat on the Supreme Court, he and his wife have worked in tandem from the bench and the political trenches to take aim at targets like Roe v. Wade and affirmative action. Together they believe that “America is in a vicious battle for its founding principles,” as Ms. Thomas has put it.

I think the time has come for Justice Thomas to turn in his resignation, and failing that, for Justice Thomas to be impeached.  The Constitution states that judges “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.”  I don’t believe that Justice Thomas’ behaviour qualifies as ‘good’, and I do believe that his wife’s fanatical activism is influencing his decisions, interfering with his integrity.


Say WHAT???

If you have lived your life believing that you are, by definition of your gender and skin colour, one of the superior beings on earth, I imagine it’s rather difficult to accept reality when it hits you in the face.  White males have dominated much of our political and societal ‘norms’ since the beginning of this nation.  Until the year 2008 when we elected Barack Obama, a Black man, to be our president, every president had been white.  And male.  We have yet to elect a woman to the highest office in the land, and in fact relatively few women hold seats in Congress.  And yet … a portion of those white males are now claiming that they are “victims of racism.”  SERIOUSLY???

Women fought long and hard just to get the right to vote … it took them until August 1920!  Men generally did not want women to vote, just as today they do not want women to have senior positions in our government.  A few facts …

  • In 1839 Mississippi was the first state to allow women to own property in their own names
  • In 1848, the Married Woman’s Property Act was passed in New York and used as a template for other states in later years. This Act allowed women to enter into contracts on her own, transact business and file a lawsuit in her own name.  By 1900, all other states had passed similar laws
  • In 1862, the U.S. Homestead Act made it easier for single, widowed and divorced women to claim land in their own names.
  • In 1872 Illinois granted freedom of occupational choice to both men and women. But when Myra Colby Bradwell, who studied as her husband’s law apprentice to pass the Illinois bar, tried to practice as a lawyer, the US supreme court ruled in 1873 that the state doesn’t have to grant a law license to a married woman. Say WHAT???
  • In 1963, the US passed the first legislation requiring equal pay for equal work, but it needed to be expanded in 1972 to include salespeople, executives, administrators, etc.
  • In 1970 a federal appeals court decision makes it illegal for a company to change a job’s title so that they could pay women who held the position less than male workers. 1970, people … think about it … just over 50 years ago!

Remember that Virginia Slims television commercial (from back when cigarette companies were still allowed to advertise on television) that said, “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”  Indeed, women in most western countries including the U.S. have come a long way, but look how long it has taken, and the reality is that in the U.S. today, women are still considered by too many to be second-class citizens.

Even worse, Black people in this country have had to fight for every teeny tiny step of progress they have made and far too many lives … BLACK LIVES … have been lost in that never-ending battle.  Even in this, the 21st century, Black people are losing their lives to white supremacists for no reason other than the colour of their skin!  Remember the story of Emmett Till who was killed by white men in 1955 because he was a young Black boy and had a conversation with a white store clerk.  Even our police, the very people who are sworn to uphold the law of the land, are often the perpetrators of hate crimes against Black people!  Remember Breonna Taylor?  SAY HER NAME!  Remember Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, George Floyd and so very many others???  SAY THEIR NAMES, DAMMIT! Remember them … always.

My point?  Those white entitled men who claim they are victims of racism are so full of sh*t that I can smell them five miles away!  Last week, the former guy claimed that he is a victim of racial discrimination because … wait for it … the prosecutors in Georgia, New York, and Washington who are investigating Trump and his business organization are all Black.  Oh the irony, for I have never known anybody more racist and misogynist than Donald Trump!

But alas, Trump isn’t the only one riding this fake victim train!  The infamous Ted Cruz, senator from Texas, claimed that President Biden’s decision to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court was “offensive” and excludes most “Americans”.  Bullshit, Teddy!!!  Most “Americans” are excluded by nature of the fact that most of us do not qualify, do not have law degrees and previous experience as a judge!  Roger Wicker, a senator from Mississippi said that limiting the pool to Black women is “affirmative racial discrimination.”

I’m tired, my friends.  I’m sick and damn tired of the people whose voices are the loudest in this nation twisting and turning words, upholding bigotry in all its forms, and hastening to destroy life on this planet.  I’m sick and tired of the people who are against anything and everything that makes sense, such as mask and vaccine mandates, protecting and repairing the environment, equality for ALL, whether male or female, Black or white, gay or straight.  There’s an old saying that, “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”  So true, and today there are so many who are choosing to be part of the problem and keeping the rest from finding the solutions to what is wrong in this world.  For Christmas, my daughter bought me this t-shirt … 

Pretty damn accurate, I’d say.

Filosofa Tries Not To Rant … Oops!

I tried really hard last night to write a post that didn’t turn into a rant.  I failed.  The only news I read that didn’t evoke a rant, put me to sleep!  There’s just so darned much to rant about these days …


It appears that the inglorious Republican Party is determined to impeach President Biden.  It started the day after his inauguration when Margie Greene filed articles of impeachment against the President (before he had even settled in, let alone made any policy decisions) claiming that he had ‘abused’ his power.  Nobody took it seriously, knowing that Margie is a conspiracy theorist, follower of QAnon, and not terribly intelligent.

The latest, though, really sent me into rant mode.  Senator Ted Cruz, also not terribly intelligent, has said that the Republican Party will impeach President Biden in 2023 if, in fact, they manage a majority in both chambers of Congress in the mid-term elections this November.  He made it clear that there was really no reason for impeachment, no legitimate cause, other than “just because we can.”

“… whether it’s justified or not … the Democrats weaponized impeachment. They used it for partisan purposes to go after Trump because they disagreed with him. And one of the real disadvantages of doing that . . . is the more you weaponize it and turn it into a partisan cudgel, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

No, you Jackass!  Trump was not impeached because we disagreed with him!  He was impeached … TWICE … because he broke the law, abused the power of his office, and stabbed the people of this nation in the back with his autocratic ways!  Take your head out of your rather large posterior and wake up, Senator Cruz!

Now, I don’t anticipate that the Senate, even if led by a Republican majority, will vote to convict President Biden and remove him from office, because so doing would leave them with … GASP … a president who is both a Woman and Black!  The two things they hate most!

Unfortunately, Cruz is not up for re-election until 2024, at which time I hope the good people of Texas will remember how he abandoned them when a winter storm left them without electricity, leaving the country and heading for Cancún where the temps were in the 80s and electricity was plentiful.


Two of the former guy’s minions seem to have established organizations that are, in addition to other issues, advocating murder.  Okay, I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m angry.  They are actually suing the Biden administration over vaccine mandates, which in my book means they prefer that everybody has the right to remain unvaccinated and thus go about spreading the lethal virus, infecting and killing people.

The first such organization is headed by the man with Nazi ties, former senior adviser and the architect of the former guy’s draconian immigration policies, Stephen Miller.  The organization is America First Legal (AFL), whose goal is to “oppose the radical left’s anti-jobs, anti-freedom, anti-faith, anti-borders, anti-police, and anti-American crusade” and “defend our citizens from unconstitutional executive overreach.”  Also affiliated with the AFL are former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker – a whole bunch of arseholes all under one umbrella.

The group is suing the Biden administration over “tyrannical and unconstitutional vaccine mandates,” claiming, among other things, that OSHA doesn’t have the power to “try and end pandemics.”  Like … ending the pandemic is a bad thing??????????  Sheesh!

The second group is led by former Vice-President Mike Pence and calls itself Advancing American Freedom (AAF).  You notice how these groups toss about that term ‘American’ as if anybody not on their side must not qualify to be an ‘American’?  AAF has joined forces with AFL to attempt to convince the Supreme Court to block the implementation of OSHA’s vaccine-or-testing mandate, arguing it is unconstitutional and poses a burden on workers.  WHAT burden???  The burden to keep safe and also help keep their co-workers, families, friends and neighbors safe?  Is that really such a burden?

My daughter, granddaughter and I have all been fully vaccinated, including the booster, and I can tell you that it did NOT infringe on our personal freedoms nor cause us any ‘burden’ in any way, shape, or form!  We can end this pandemic if every person does their part, but some would obviously prefer to spend massive amounts of time and money ensuring that more and more of us will become ill and many more will die needlessly.


And now, I will stop ranting so I can manage a bit of sleep tonight and so you can find something cheerier to read on a Sunday morn!  Have a great day!

A Few Snarky Snippets

Once again, the urge to be snarky is upon me … well, in truth I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel the urge to be snarky!  There is just so much wrong these days … it’s either let it out, else it will explode and pieces of me will be scattered for miles!


Persona non grata – even by Republicans!

I hear that Mike Lindell, that infamous pillow dude who was a chief boot-licker of the former guy, isn’t doing so well these days.  First, back in February he was sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $1.3 billion in a defamation suit accusing him of repeatedly and falsely saying that Dominion’s voting machines had stolen the election for Biden.

Then there’s his company, MyPillow, that has got to be suffering, considering that numerous stores have stopped carrying his product as a result of his political views, though most claim it was because of poor sales or a “change in marketing strategy”.  Among those are large retailers such as Kohls, Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco, and QVC.

But the icing on the cake for ol’ Mikey came this week when he flew to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend a 3-day event of the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) to which he claimed he was invited, only to be denied entrance!  Almost immediately upon arriving at his Nashville hotel, Lindell was told by an event coordinator that he would not be allowed to attend any of the events or meetings.  Lindell tried to join transportation for members only for a dinner at the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion and was denied.

It must have been a bit of a slap-in-the-face, since Lindell has attended previous meetings of the RGA, including the winter 2020 meeting, where a few Republican governors encouraged him to run for governor of Minnesota.  Lindell gave up and flew back home to Minnesota on Tuesday.


Yep, another mass shooting today

This time it was in San Jose, California, at a maintenance and dispatch center for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.  Since it’s only been a few hours, details are sketchy but there are, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, “multiple injuries and multiple fatalities”.  The gunman is reported to be dead.

Interestingly, the shooter’s house was also found to be on fire … not sure what the connection is, but no doubt further details will be forthcoming.  Meanwhile, I’m sure members of Congress are sending their completely useless “thoughts and prayers” while pocketing their latest donations from the NRA.


About damn time!

Yesterday the Senate voted to confirm a Black woman, Kristen Clarke, to lead the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice.  About time!  She is the first Black woman to lead the department … a department that specifically deals with issues of racial and gender injustice!

The Republicans in the Senate, naturally, fear her and only one, Susan Collins of Maine, voted to confirm her.  Said the infamous and ignoble Senator Ted Cruz …

“Kristen Clarke is a radical extremist with a laundry list of concerning issues plaguing her nomination that go far beyond her support for defunding the police.”

The reality is that Clarke said during her confirmation hearing that she is opposed to stripping police departments of their budgets. Instead, she lent support to the idea of reallocating money within departments to make sure law enforcement officers can do their jobs more safely.  Really sounds like a ‘radical extremist’, doesn’t she?

Cruz and the other republican naysayers would do well to remember that the Civil Rights Division, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is to …

“… uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, religion, familial status, national origin, and citizenship status.”

The Republicans ‘nay’ votes further confirm my contention that the Republican Party has become very much a racist, misogynist party.  Just what we don’t need.

Congratulations to Ms. Clarke!


A Sensible Republican — Last Of A Dying Breed

The day of the sensible, reasonable, intelligent Republican seems to be long gone.  Way back when, I’ve even voted for Republicans, but I cannot picture ever doing so again, for the party has devolved into something ugly … a bunch who would rather burn down this nation than compromise, than meet Democrats on some middle ground.  John Boehner was one of the last Republicans for whom I had a great deal of respect, though I often disagreed with him.  He has written a book, due out on Tuesday, April 13th, that I have pre-ordered and plan to read.  What follows is an excerpt from that book, and I think you’ll be surprised when you read some of his words.

In the 2010 midterm election, voters from all over the place gave President Obama what he himself called “a shellacking.” And oh boy, was it ever. You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.

Retaking control of the House of Representatives put me in line to be the next Speaker of the House over the largest freshman Republican class in history: 87 newly elected members of the GOP. Since I was presiding over a large group of people who’d never sat in Congress, I felt I owed them a little tutorial on governing. I had to explain how to actually get things done. A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way. Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn’t their thing. A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That’s why they thought they were elected.

Some of them, well, you could tell they weren’t paying attention because they were just thinking of how to fundraise off of outrage or how they could get on Hannity that night. Ronald Reagan used to say something to the effect that if I get 80 or 90 percent of what I want, that’s a win. These guys wanted 100 percent every time. In fact, I don’t think that would satisfy them, because they didn’t really want legislative victories. They wanted wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades.

To them, my talk of trying to get anything done made me a sellout, a dupe of the Democrats, and a traitor. Some of them had me in their sights from day one. They saw me as much of an “enemy” as the guy in the White House. Me, a guy who had come to the top of the leadership by exposing corruption and pushing conservative ideas. Now I was a “liberal collaborator.” So that took some getting used to. What I also had not anticipated was the extent to which this new crowd hated—and I mean hated—Barack Obama.

By 2011, the right-wing propaganda nuts had managed to turn Obama into a toxic brand for conservatives. When I was first elected to Congress, we didn’t have any propaganda organization for conservatives, except maybe a magazine or two like National Review. The only people who used the internet were some geeks in Palo Alto. There was no Drudge Report. No Breitbart. No kooks on YouTube spreading dangerous nonsense like they did every day about Obama.

“He’s a secret Muslim!”

“He hates America!”

“He’s a communist!”

And of course the truly nutty business about his birth certificate. People really had been brainwashed into believing Barack Obama was some Manchurian candidate planning to betray America.

Mark Levin was the first to go on the radio and spout off this crazy nonsense. It got him ratings, so eventually he dragged Hannity and Rush to Looneyville along with him. My longtime friend Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, was not immune to this. He got swept into the conspiracies and the paranoia and became an almost unrecognizable figure.

I’d known Ailes for a long time, since his work with George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s. He’d gone to college in Ohio, and since we had that connection, he sought me out at some event and introduced himself. Years later, in August of 1996, when I was in San Diego for the Republican National Convention, I ended up having dinner with Ailes and a veteran broadcasting executive named Rupert Murdoch. At that dinner they told me all about this new TV network they were starting. I had no idea I was listening to the outline of something that would make my life a living hell down the line. Sure enough, that October, Fox News hit the airwaves.

I kept in touch with Roger and starting in the early 2000s, I’d stop in and see him whenever I was in New York for fundraisers. We’d shoot the breeze and talk politics. We got to know each other pretty well.

Murdoch, on the other hand, was harder to know. Sometimes he’d invite me to watch the Super Bowl in the Fox box, or he’d stop by the office. Wherever he was, you could tell he was the man in charge. He was a businessman, pure and simple. He cared about ratings and the bottom line. He also wanted to make sure he was ahead of any political or policy developments coming down the line. He was always asking who was up, who was down, what bills could pass and what couldn’t. If he entertained any of the kooky conspiracy theories that started to take over his network, he kept it a secret from me. But he clearly didn’t have a problem with them if they helped ratings.

At some point after the 2008 election, something changed with my friend Roger Ailes. I once met him in New York during the Obama years to plead with him to put a leash on some of the crazies he was putting on the air. It was making my job trying to accomplish anything conservative that much harder. I didn’t expect this meeting to change anything, but I still thought it was bullshit, and I wanted Roger to know it.

When I put it to him like that, he didn’t have much to say. But he did go on and on about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him.

“They’re monitoring me,” he assured me about the Obama White House. He told me he had a “safe room” built so he couldn’t be spied on. His mansion was being protected by combat-ready security personnel, he said. There was a lot of conspiratorial talk. It was like he’d been reading whacked-out spy novels all weekend.

And it was clear that he believed all of this crazy stuff. I walked out of that meeting in a daze. I just didn’t believe the entire federal government was so terrified of Roger Ailes that they’d break about a dozen laws to bring him down. I thought I could get him to control the crazies, and instead I found myself talking to the president of the club. One of us was crazy. Maybe it was me.

I have no idea what the relationship between Ailes and Murdoch was like, or if Ailes ever would go off on these paranoid tangents during meetings with his boss. But Murdoch must have thought Ailes was good for business, because he kept him in his job for years.

Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives. Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show. So one day, in January of 2015, I finally called him and asked: “What the hell?” I wanted to know why he kept bashing House Republicans when we were actually trying to stand up to Obama.

“Well, you guys don’t have a plan,” he whined.

“Look,” I told him, “our plan is pretty simple: we’re just going to stand up for what we believe in as Republicans.”

I guess that wasn’t good enough for him. The conversation didn’t progress very far. At some point I called him a nut. Anyway, it’s safe to say our relationship never got any better.

Besides the homegrown “talent” at Fox, with their choice of guests they were making people who used to be fringe characters into powerful media stars. One of the first prototypes out of their laboratory was a woman named Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann, who had represented Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District since 2007 and made a name for herself as a lunatic ever since, came to meet with me in the busy period in late 2010 after the election. She wanted a seat on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee in the House. There were many members in line ahead of her for a post like this. People who had waited patiently for their turn and who also, by the way, weren’t wild-eyed crazies.

There was no way she was going to get on Ways and Means, the most prestigious committee in Congress, and jump ahead of everyone else in line. Not while I was Speaker. In earlier days, a member of Congress in her position wouldn’t even have dared ask for something like this. Sam Rayburn would have laughed her out of the city.

So I told her no—diplomatically, of course. But as she kept on talking, it dawned on me. This wasn’t a request of the Speaker of the House. This was a demand.

Her response to me was calm and matter-of-fact. “Well, then I’ll just have to go talk to Sean Hannity and everybody at Fox,” she said, “and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and everybody else on the radio, and tell them that this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House.”

I wasn’t the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now.

She was right, of course.

She was a conservative media darling and, by then, the conservative media was already eyeing me skeptically. She had me where it hurt. Even if I wanted to help her, and I sure as hell didn’t, it wasn’t a decision I had the power to make on my own. That power belongs to a little-known but very important group called the Steering Committee.

I knew there was no way the Steering Committee would approve putting Bachmann on Ways and Means. The votes just weren’t there. If I even pushed the issue, they wouldn’t have let me leave the meeting without fastening me into a straitjacket. But then, Bachmann wouldn’t go on TV and the radio to explain the nuances of House Steering Committee procedure. She’d just rip my head off every night, over and over again. That was a headache I frankly didn’t want or need.

I suggested the House Intelligence committee to Bachmann as an alternative, and mercifully, she liked it. It would be a good perch for anyone wanting to build up their foreign policy chops for a run for president, which she was already considering— Lord help us all. None too pleased was the man preparing to take up the gavel as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers from Michigan, an army veteran who had also served in the FBI. So I took my lumps from Rogers, and Bachmann took her seat on the committee.

The funny thing is, Michele Bachmann turned out to be a very focused, hardworking member—even though she spent a few months later in 2011 on a short-lived campaign for president. She showed up to the committee, did her homework, and ended up winning over her fellow members with her dedication. Mike Rogers was impressed—and I have to admit, so was I. The whole situation ended up working out well for everyone. As one of those old Boehnerisms goes, “Get the right people on the bus, and help them find the right seat.”

In January 2011, as the new Republican House majority was settling in and I was getting adjusted to the Speakership, I was asked about the birth certificate business by Brian Williams of NBC News. My answer was simple: “The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.” It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I’d called Ronald Reagan a communist. I got all kinds of shit for it—emails, letters, phone calls. It went on for a couple weeks. I knew we would hear from some of the crazies, but I was surprised at just how many there really were.

All of this crap swirling around was going to make it tough for me to cut any deals with Obama as the new House Speaker. Of course, it has to be said that Obama didn’t help himself much either. He could come off as lecturing and haughty. He still wasn’t making Republican outreach a priority. But on the other hand—how do you find common cause with people who think you are a secret Kenyan Muslim traitor to America?

Under the new rules of Crazytown, I may have been Speaker, but I didn’t hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me.

Being a Jerk now a Prerequisite for Republican Presidential Nomination

Our friend Jeff has written the post I’ve been pondering, and done it far better than I could have. The Republican Party, the GOP who prides themselves on being “The Party of Lincoln” are failing to live up to that grandeur … not only failing, but they have become the Party of Losers and Liars … and whiners. They no longer have a platform or an ideology, just negativity toward anything the Democrats try to accomplish, and toward the people of this country. Good post … thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Apparently, being a first-class jerk is a prerequisite for being the front-runner in Republican presidential politics. According to many in the media, current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sits atop the leaderboard. The real question, though, is why would that be?

Why would a guy who constantly criticizes the media, whines about anti-conservative bias, and flaunts a no mask policy in the middle of a pandemic, be a Republican voter’s first choice to run for the most powerful office in the world?

We’re left to conclude that it’s because most Republican voters kind of like their candidate to be an asshole. They want him or her to be mean to the media. They love it when someone talks tough and owns the libs daily. Oh, and if you have spoken openly about the fallacy of wearing a mask or shutting down economies to slow down the spread of the worst pandemic…

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