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WHAT Did They Say About Judicial Activism?

Remember when we used to hear about the “judicial activism” by a left-leaning court? Sounds kinda quaint now that the 6-3 Republican majority on the Supreme Court (with no less than three Trump appointees, thanks to Mitch McConnell) has gone even further toward nullification of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and protecting the dark money that undermines the legislative process...

Is One Michigan County an Important Electoral Bellwether?

I just read a 62-page article (big type, lots of pictures!) in POLITICO Magazine that provides an interesting perspective—especially after the Republican Senators’ predictable but still distressing refusal to even allow discussion of S.1, the voting rights bill. The article, written by Zack Stanton, is titled: “As Long as the Party Embraces Trump, It’s Going to Have Trouble.”

This President Goes Where None Has Gone Before…

Save draft Preview(opens in a new tab) Publish Add title This President Goes Where None Has Gone Before... Biden Delivers Remarks To Commemorate 100th Anniversary ... The above video is almost 43 minutes long, but it gives an extraordinary view of President Biden expanding his leadership by assuming the roles of teacher/historian—even as he accelerates his role as Healer-in-Chief. When President Biden traveled to Tulsa to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the decimation of Greenwood, a section of the city that was called “the Black Wall Street,” he described in often graphic detail the horrors that happened there... He also tied such events—and the pervasive institutional racism still existing—to the need for the programs he’s proposed to help affected communities achieve the economic stability of home ownership and entrepreneurship, which the people of Greenwood and elsewhere had created of their own volition before the 1921 massacre.

Can Fannie Lou Hamer Save Our Democracy?

Marc Elias of Democracy Docket, whom I’ve written about before, is one of the most deeply committed individuals at the forefront of our battle to combat voter suppression. He was constantly in the courtroom during the post-2020 election challenges, beating back all the phony claims, and he’s fighting the good fight once again. In the May 25th issue of Democracy Docket, he describes a precedent set by civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer in the 1960s that could be employed today against anyone who is elected to office where voting discrimination has occurred.

Our Dickensian Moment…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” I was struck by how appropriate Dickens’ famous opening words are to our current American crisis. Dickens, however, was speaking of A Tale of Two Cities. Our situation can, sadly, be described as “A Tale of Two Countries.”

OOPS–The Dark Money Folks Learn Conservatives Hate Dark Money Too!

“Unfortunately, we’ve found that [inhibiting billionaires from buying elections] is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives. It was most persuasive, convincing, riled them up the most.” New Yorker writer Jane Mayer acquired a leaked tape about a meeting of right-wing groups intent on killing HR.1.

This Time, Some Better News About Guns: A Reblog in Appreciation of the Biden-Harris Plans to Treat Our Public Health Epidemic

As the outlook for sensible gun safety legislation isn't positive right now, we are fortunate that the Biden-Harris administration has created a significant six-part program to reduce gun violence. Parts of it mesh well with information I came across in 2019 about evidence-based programs that were working, but lost their funding. Both the relevant aspects of the new administration plan and my earlier blog appear here.

YET ANOTHER COVID-RELATED WORRY…

I’m sorry to do this to you—I really am. Haven’t we had enough stories about being careful during this damn pandemic? But I think you’ll want to consider the implications of this one... Apparently, the Covid throwaway detritus—the single-use gloves (often latex) and face masks (usually with rubber strings and made of polypropylene, a thermoplastic fabric)—has been identified as an “emerging threat” to animals.

Wanna Hear About My Colonoscopy? A Reblog With Covid in Mind…

A repost of an earlier piece just a few days past Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. COVID interfered with life-saving screening tests in several leading diseases, and young people especially, need to know about their increased risk for colon cancer.

Here’s my attempt to inject a little lightheartedness into a difficult topic about a life-saving procedure.

Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law Is Only the Beginning

When President Biden stressed in his first formal press conference that our times are being marked by the battle between autocracy and democracy, he wasn't just speaking about other countries. He was stressing what's happening right here, in the US. Right now! I am reblogging this post from TokyoSand at politicalcharge.org because it contains both the sense of urgency and some valuable resources for anyone who wants to learn more and/or donate to the pro-democracy Georgia organizations who are at the forefront of the battle.

WOULD YOU–WILL YOU–SUPPORT “THE DEMOCRACY PLEDGE”?

“Voters’ voices are loud, but for corporate America, consumers’ voices are louder. So, folks, let’s let them hear our voice.” The speaker is Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor and cofounder of a new effort called “The Democracy Pledge.” He's describing this campaign on a podcast.

SAVING OUR DEMOCRACY, PART 4 (and the last on this subject for now)

In truth, I hadn’t planned a fourth segment. But when I turned to Friday’s New York Times editorial page, this headline called to me: “Save Democracy: Kill the Filibuster.” So even though the filibuster has been discussed in the first three parts of this series, how could I ignore this piece? It sorta felt this was the right place to rest the series—at least for now. (And a four-part series has a kind of nice symmetry to me.)

SAVING OUR DEMOCRACY, PART 2

A friend who’s not all that interested in politics asked me the other day why, if President Biden ran on bipartisanship, everything he’s proposing is now being rejected by the Republicans. I responded that the American Rescue Plan, which will soon pass the Senate and be signed into law, has nationwide bipartisan support: 75% of the public support it, including 60% of Republicans. But the Republicans in both chambers have not been willing to legislate for some time. Thomas L. Friedman, a New York Times opinion columnist who I find generally hews toward the middle politically, minced no words in a recent essay titled: ”What Trump, San Francisco and the Deer in My Backyard Have in Common.” The subtitle was “Democracy depends on understanding the connection.” (emphases mine throughout)

SAVING OUR DEMOCRACY, PART 1

NOTE: While we are becoming accustomed to the idea of a "normal" president doing presidential work, we must not be complacent. The battle to return the Trumpian Republican Party to power is in full swing--in both the national and state legislatures. As historian Heather Cox Richardson points out below, this is not--must not be--a partisan issue. I am printing Richardson's recent column below. I began to emphasize the passages I felt were most important by using the bold font--but found I was bolding just about every paragraph.

“Gumbo Diplomacy”

As we near the end of this year’s commemoration of Black History Month, it seems appropriate to pay tribute to a woman whose life story is that of a Black American girl who rose from humble beginnings in the segregated South to a place of honor and influence in our country. I hope you’ll spend 10 minutes watching this TedTalk video of Linda Thomas-Greenfield, our newly appointed ambassador to the United Nations, as she describes overcoming adversity and being strengthened by it--with compassion, kindness, and a smile.

Backstage in My Blog World: An Explanation and an Apology–Revisited

NOTE: I have had a more-than-usual amount of crappy tech snafus in my blogging and personal life the past few days. Rather than bore you with all the bytes that bit me, I decided to reblog one of my earliest posts--written shortly after I began this blog two years ago. I'd like to think I've become slightly more technically adept since then, but... Some of the explanatory material about WP was necessary because at the time I had more email subscribers than fellow bloggers. I had fun writing this piece, and I hope you'll have fun reading it.

Winning Over White Supremacists–One Hater at a Time

I am writing this piece with images of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol still very fresh in my mind. It is a huge stretch to think of those brutal, sadistic, remorseless thugs and imagine summoning an iota of compassion for them. But others of their ilk--and many psychologists and researchers--say that’s precisely what’s needed. They call themselves the “formers”: former Klansman, neo-Nazis, or generic white supremacists or other racial extremists who are now devoted to guiding those who’d followed similar paths to come to a better life.

PRESIDENT BIDEN IS KEEPING HIS PROMISES

I don’t think it’s too early to give a shoutout to our new President for seizing the initiative on important issues that he stressed in his campaign. He started off with a dizzying flourish of Executive Orders, which are cited here. He’s working tirelessly and smartly to demonstrate to the Republicans in Congress how popular his $1.9 trillion Covid assistance package is by going directly to the people. He’s met with mayors and governors who are desperate for help from the federal government. Tuesday night, he went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for his first town hall as President, answering questions from the public in great detail. Some polls are now showing that 75% of the public support this bill.

Keeping Our Eyes Where We Don’t Want Them To Be…

When I saw my gastro Monday morning, I told him how much better I was feeling. And the light bulb had gone off. My GI system almost instantaneously expressed its enormous gratitude and relief when Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump in the Oval Office “You’re not the only one of my patients who’ve said that,” the good doctor informed me. All this prelude is to tell you how much I want to forget about Donald Trump. I embrace his absence with my head, heart, and gut. Good riddance and all that! But I strongly suspect that we must keep that weather eye open.

An Alternate View of Black History Month

There's no doubt that we Americans need to know more about Black history. There's also no doubt that even as we recognize the need to root out white supremacy and institutional racism in all its manifestations, more and more white Americans have become aware of the racial injustices that continue to mar our country as we seek to live up to our ideals. But is a "celebration of Black History Month" a meaningful contribution to that moral imperative? Ernest Owens, a journalist in Philadelphia, thinks not.

WHEN HUNTERS BECOME PROTECTORS…

This is a story of changed hearts leading to changed behavior—in the backdrop of climate change. Spanning more than 15 years, it has heroes and villains, triumphs and tragedies, and a mostly happy ending—perhaps. As I can’t do justice to the drama and complexity here, I encourage you to read it in its entirety in the Daily Beast.

“The Enemy Is Within” (An Acrostic for Nancy Pelosi)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, reacting to elected members who are threatening their fellow Representatives, said that "The Enemy Is Within." This acrostic is an homage to Pelosi, her colleagues and staffers--some across the aisle--who are laboring under the terrible circumstances her comment laments.

Who Was Jon Swift?

No—I’m not referring familiarly to the Gulliver’s Travels guy here. This Jon Swift, I’ve learned recently, was a legendary figure in the blogosphere. There’s a connection between the two, of course. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In early December, I received an email from a man name Batocchio, with a lovely invitation. Would I be interested in submitting my favorite post from my blog to The 2020 Jon Swift Roundup: “The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves”?

Pre-Inauguration Messages of Hope

Apart from grieving for our nation, I feel a personal sadness for our President-elect. He is by so many accounts one of the most decent, compassionate, honorable individuals in politics today. His experience makes him uniquely qualified to address the nearly overwhelming problems our nation faces. He has wisely chosen extraordinary individuals to help him in his formidable task. He has reached the pinnacle of an ambition he's held for his entire adult life. Similarly, our Vice President-elect. This should be an unvarnished time of personal pride for Kamala Harris. The first woman, African-American, individual of Indian descent to ascend to this high office, she has demonstrated her brilliance, strength, accomplishments, and yes--compassion. Yet when Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr is sworn in as our 46th President tomorrow outside our nation's Capitol, and Kamala Harris becomes that multiple glass ceiling-breaker Vice President, the area will look like a war zone because of insurrection by extremists goaded by Biden's predecessor.

Got Inner Critic(s)? Meet Annie’s and mine

I was delighted to receive an invitation from fellow blogger da-AL to be a guest writer on her blog, happinessbetweentails.com. You can read about her many talents there. The fun part was that da-AL took “My Attempts to Play Nice With My Inner Critic” and added her own thoughts to the post she titled: “Got Inner Critic(s)? Meet Annie’s and mine.” So this post is a two-fer! Click on “View original post” below–and you’ll see da-AL’s thoughts, followed by mine.

But nobody’s offered me a solution to my dilemma yet. Perhaps you will?

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Charles Schultz, the creator of “Peanuts,” did other stuff besides that comic strip. It’s said he battled his own gang of gremlins. Lucy, the psychiatrist from hell, for one… Charles Schultz, the creator of “Peanuts,” made other work besides that comic strip. It’s said he battled his own gang of gremlins. Lucy, the psychiatrist from hell, for one. (Peanuts image courtesy of pixy.org)

My inner jerks specialize in novel writing. Inner criticizing is just the beginning — they’re outer and everywhere.

A tongue-twisting ditty to be sung to whatever tune strikes your fancy:

“Here a critic… There a critic… Everywhere a crit, critty, critical critic…”

Moreover, mine barge in with droves of friends.

Have you got any? If not, how the heck do you pull that off?

I could list mine for days and days: Why you takin’ so long with them books you keep talkin’ ‘bout? Ya really gotta do that instead of this or those things or them stuff right now? Lookie here, there’s this to do that’s way more pressing and tons more fun! You’re wasting…

View original post 1,279 more words

President Obama Places the Capitol Police Actions in Context

Former President Barack Obama’s denunciation of the Capitol riot and Trump’s incitement, aided by Republican elected officials, gained a great deal of press. You can read it here. But there was less coverage of one of his tweets that I felt was extremely important.

AMERICA: WHAT DO WE DO NOW? (Part 2)

An incredibly brave Not-Soon-Enough-President Biden boldly denounced both Trump-the-inciter and the “domestic terrorists” (good for him for using the term) who ransacked the Capitol last Wednesday. It’s worth noting that Biden has stated that he’d decided he had to run for President after Charlottesville, when Trump referred to the white supremacists as some of the “good people on both sides.” Even before he selected Kamala Harris as his running mate, they had both framed this election against Trump as the “battle for the soul of the nation.” And though the election is over, that battle is not.

AMERICA: WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

I thought I was done with Trump. I hoped never to write about the man again. But what he and his supporters are threatening to do to our democracy today is beyond the beyond. How do we respond? And, my thoughtful readers from other countries whose lives are intertwined with ours, I welcome your perspectives too. We clearly need all the help we can get.

Those Prize-Winning “Genetic Scissors” May Revolutionize Disease Treatment

In October, 2020, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to two women for their discovery of a method in the field of genetics with far-ranging applications. The Nobel Committee, in its announcement, called their effort: “Genetic scissors: a tool for rewriting the code of life”

IS IT TIME TO VIEW SOCIAL MEDIA AS FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER?

If you heard that more than 89 million households worldwide had watched a particular film on Netflix during the first week after its release, you’d think something monumental was occurring, wouldn’t you? The Social Dilemma, a documentary-drama about the role of technology in our lives, garnered all those viewers. ...“Nothing vast enters the world of mortals without a curse.”

Why Does the Justice Department Say a Sitting President Can’t Be Indicted? The Original Rationale’s Kinda Mind-Blowing…

I missed this story the first time around in 2019, but I think it’s worth covering now as Donald Trump fades into the sunset (a little wishful thinking on my part) and we review how we got to where we are—and where we may need to change our procedures. This need for reexamination covers many areas, but the Justice Department’s a big one.... It appears that Trump might owe a debt of gratitude to Spiro Agnew. Spiro who? Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon’s Vice President at the time of the Watergate scandal. But this policy is unrelated to Watergate—or even to the President directly. That’s what makes it so very odd.

RAGE…DISGUST…COMPASSION…SADNESS…HOPE?

Last night, I finished reading Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own. The author, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., is a Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. ... Though Glaude speaks of Baldwin’s rage, and his own rage, the rage that came to mind when I started this piece is mine.

Wondering Why the Election Ran So Smoothly After All? Here’s One Big Reason…

Russian meddling…Chinese meddling…even Iranian meddling. Deliberate sabotage of the US Postal Service equipment and personnel practices. Announced plans that would suppress the vote in predominantly minority areas by diminishing the number of available voting locations.... “Congress really failed our election officials,” said Liz Howard of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

About Those First-Ever Covid-19 Vaccines Nearing Approval…

I think I’m like many Americans—probably many people worldwide—in my reactions to the news that two vaccines appear close to receiving FDA approval and the beginnings of distribution. A total of five are currently in phase 3 (safety trials). With the numbers of people infected and dying seemingly out of control, we are clearly in dire conditions and in desperate need of effective interventions. No question. My Concerns…

A Bunch of Reasons for Which I’m Thankful…

This is long, but if you really want to get a sense of where President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are in terms of their thinking about America's place in the world--and the interrelationship between foreign policy and our nation's families--it's well-worth watching. I'm thinking not only of American readers of my blog who may not have seen this presentation, but also our many friends around the world who have been fearful and flabbergasted as they've watched the current administration over the past four years.

Letter to a Dying Friend

My husband and I lost a decades-long, treasured friend in October, nearly two months after we first learned that he’d been hospitalized with a dire combination of heart, lung, and kidney failure. We’d spoken with him when he’d been moved to a care center, and he said then that he’d had enough—no more procedures, no more indignities....But he wasn’t as ready then as he’d thought. When he came home from the care center, he had some good time with his family. He told us he was spending most of the day out of bed, walking with a walker, and that his arms and legs were getting stronger.

Post-Election Good News…

IT'S OFFICIAL: JOSEPH ROBINETTE BIDEN, JR., IS NOW THE 46TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. There will be much discussion about the meaning, trends, and implications of this election, and the results were not without disappointments. But it's too soon for all those debates. At this point, I'm simply offering my top-of-mind list of what I perceive to be the positives for our country.

This Huge Issue Is Also On The Ballot…

There are tons of issues on the ballot when we cast our votes for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. One of these issues has vast ramifications in our society. It’s complex, and I can’t do justice to it here. This isn't a new issue, but I think it’s just beginning to get the attention it deserves...It’s how we define masculinity in America. Specifically, it’s what’s called “toxic masculinity” or “hyper-masculinity.” (It has nothing to do with gender: it can be found among some gay men as well as heterosexual men.)

In Recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (With a Big Assist From a Dynamo Fellow Blogger)

My mother had bilateral mastectomies—five years apart. I vividly recall that shortly after she was first diagnosed, she called me into her room to show me the spot on her breast: no discernible lump—just a horizontal line masking the cancerous cells below. She wanted to alert me in case I ever saw something similar on my own body. She/we were lucky: after the distressing surgeries, she needed no follow-up treatment and died at age 83 of heart failure. Many women—and some men—are not so lucky.

“Something Is Not Right Around the Court…”

At the hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's ultra-conservative nominee to replace the late liberal giant Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Dem, RI) gave a remarkably clear and extremely important tutorial on the forces that are really moving the Supreme Court's decision-making in ways large and small...I hope you will view this video, which succinctly captures so much about why our government is failing to meet the needs of the American people.

“BATTLE for the SOUL of the NATION”

I am including this video of the speech Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered at Gettysburg in its entirety because I think it gives a good overview of the man and his values. I hope you’ll spend the full 22 minutes to watch it....I am as eager that it be seen and heard by folks outside the US as by American voters because I know the world needs reassurance that most of us in the US have not gone crazy.

Expanding the Definition of “Pro-Life”

I noticed it first when I watched Elizabeth Neumann speak about her reasons for resigning from her position as the Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary of Threat Prevention and Security Policy. She was tasked with following right-wing threats inside the United States, and she emphatically stated that President Trump had made her job harder. 

Ready for “One Person, One Vote”? We’re Not That Far Off…

“Be it resolved,” writes Annie, “that since this is my blog, I can talk about the Electoral College without giving the arguments in its favor.” Those who disagree are free to do so with your comments. There’s always a lot of talk about getting rid of the Electoral College, and then we get the litany of reasons why it’s needed. Such a situation brought me to this post.

THE TRUMPIAN AUDIT…WITH SOME POST-DEBATE COMMENTS

NOTE: I composed the acrostic below before last night’s debacle. I thought about not posting it because it seems almost quaint today. However, as I mull over Trump’s performance in the debate, I wonder whether the recent disclosures of his mounting financial problems—and the evidence many of us have long suspected that his alleged empire and fabulous wealth are in fact a house of cards—contributed to his unhinged performance.

A Tale of Two Calamities

Oh, the irony! This is the week that my husband and I were scheduled to be in Alaska. The purpose of the cruise on a small ship was to learn from expert lecturers and see firsthand the devastation of climate change on the animals and environment. We felt a sense of urgency to make this trip while the locale was still viable. Obviously, the trip was cancelled due to COVID-19. We were supposed to meet the tour guide and group in Seattle, where the air quality a few days ago was rated the third worst in the world. In the scheme of things, I’m certainly not complaining about our lost vacation. We are safe in our home. But in the larger sense…

Think Trump’s Not Moving Toward Total Autocracy? This International Analyst Knows the Signs Too Well…

Michael McFaul, former Special Assistant to President Obama and Sr. Dir. for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the NSC, and former US Ambassador to Russia, has some trenchant observations about the meaning behind the show at last week's Republican National Convention.

Will Sports Figures Help Us Break Through the Hatred?

https://youtu.be/-UjGhM_w97Q Doc Rivers, head coach for the LA Clippers basketball team, son of a policeman...please watch this poignant video. We are in the midst of a very ugly, unsettling time in America. The large demonstrations against injustice have somehow become delegitimized by the relatively few incidents of looting and arson. Focus groups are showing diminished … Continue reading Will Sports Figures Help Us Break Through the Hatred?

First, Let Me Apologize for My Lunkheadedness…

I realize that lots of people avoid talking about politics in these dreadfully polarized times. But political junkie that I am, I failed to realize that some of you don't even want to read about politics--not even on this blog. (Oh, my!) Please bear with me as I tell you why I am now far more hopeful about our country than I was before the Democratic National Convention last week.

These Are the Election Watchers Watching Us (Maybe)!

Remember the good old days—say, 2015—when the World looked toward the US as a beacon of democracy? Well, it seems that an international group designed to monitor elections is so troubled by what we’re doing in the good old USA that they’re sending people to keep an eye on us. The Guardian reports that these designated poll watchers are from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—specifically, its democracy and human rights arm.

Why I See Kamala’s Racial Attack on Joe as a Positive Seminal Moment for Our Country

Joe Biden has just selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential running mate. Some call it an easy, obvious decision. I see it differently. I think this was just the right choice at this time. But it couldn't have been easy for Biden. I was one of many who was put off by Harris in the first debate for her attack on Biden about his support of busing when she was a child integrating her neighborhood school. It seemed unfair because it was ancient history, and he has clearly moved far from that kind of thinking. Though I didn't support Biden then, I was moved by the shocked, hurt look on his face. He appeared wounded. He and Harris were friends. She was a close friend of his beloved late son Beau.

The Presidential Polls Will Soon Be Tightening (Gasp!)

It seems that President Trump's attempts to stay in office are increasingly desperate. "Biden wants to hurt God," he said Thursday, leading MSNBC host Chris Hayes to ask how he could even do that (?). It was bad enough for Trump that he's apparently lost control over events and the narrative--and the opportunities to get … Continue reading The Presidential Polls Will Soon Be Tightening (Gasp!)

Black Health Matters Too: The Role of Race in Life-and-Death Medical Decision-making

The intersection of race and health is complicated. But the emerging picture seems to be that health conditions that affect Black people disproportionately—such as kidney disease and maternal deaths—may have their roots not only in poverty or access to health care, but also in preconceived and unproven notions of race that affect medical decision-making. (emphases mine throughout)

A Doctor’s Mask Worn Awry Leads Me to Promising New COVID-19 Research

I had an appointment with a substitute doctor this week. Attesting to his renown, his office walls were crowded with yearly awards demonstrating his leadership in his field.

He is a hematologist/oncologist. I was there to receive one of the twice-yearly injections I receive for osteoporosis. The same medication is given in greater strength and frequency to cancer patients to prevent bone fractures.

As he leaned forward to give me the injection, his mask was comfortably positioned beneath his nose.

I was distressed by his apparent carelessness: the man deals with cancer patients all day long, for goodness sake.

Fighting Our “What If Trump Won’t Leave?” Paranoia

I had promised myself—and you—that I would stop talking about the gross elephant trampling through our Constitution (with apologies to real elephants, wonderful creatures that they are!).

My way of dealing with my strong feelings about Trump has been to make him tiny and powerless in my mind—even as I recognize his increasingly dangerous actions and expect them to continue to heighten as Election Day nears.

But then I read an article in The Boston Globe with the scary title “A bipartisan group secretly gathered to game out a contested Trump-Biden election. It wasn’t pretty.”

A Mid-Pandemic, Anti-Panic, Slightly Manic Flight of…Oh, I Dunno

Dribble is a silly word.

Maybe not when we’re talking about the Harlem Globetrotters—or kids in a schoolyard testing their prowess by bouncing, bouncing, bouncing that ball on unforgiving asphalt, then arcing skyward toward a topless/bottomless structure seemingly stitched by a gargantuan spider.

Or a baby’s slo-mo Vesuvius after imbibing squished bananas and squashed squash from a teensy spoon dipped too generously into a tiny glass jar by a harried automaton-a-mama whose patience is now pandemic-thin. In such instances, the word bib, found conveniently nestling within the word dribble, is very useful indeed.

Barr’s Army: The Slender Legal Reed for Overtaking American Cities

Portland, Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler and other elected officials have been telling Washington in no uncertain terms: “Take your troops out of Portland.”

Wheeler has called the unidentified federal individuals dressed in camouflage and driving unmarked vans President Trump’s “personal army.” You’ve no doubt heard that there have already been casualties in this foray.

But it would be more appropriate to call them “Barr’s army.” Our quite-recent history includes Attorney General Barr’s giving the orders for the attack on nonviolent protesters outside of the White House to facilitate Trump’s photo op holding a Bible.

In the Presence of John Lewis…

Last night, Georgia Congressman John Lewis, one of my personal heroes, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.

It was four years ago that I attended a political rally in a church in a neighboring community. Congressman Lewis had come to town to try to help a younger candidate win a seat to join him in the House of Representatives.

The church was packed with a heartwarmingly diverse crowd: all variations on the color spectrum, differing faiths or no faith, young and old, men and women.

After Dogs Detecting COVID-19, What’s Next?

You may recall my recent post describing studies that demonstrate how accurately dogs can sniff out COVID-19. The answer to “What’s Next?” may be found on your wrist right now.

“Wearables” outfitted with artificial intelligence (AI) to report back health data may send a message to asymptomatic or presymptomatic people with the virus before they spread the disease. That means Fitbits, smartwatches, and heart rate monitors that cardiac patients strap to their wrists may help us fight against those dreaded spikes we’re seeing nationwide. The key is that these wristlets monitor heart rate.

The Supreme Court Rulings Against The President: “Judicial Malpractice”?

I was one of many Americans who breathed a huge sigh of relief on Thursday when the Supreme Court emphatically said, in two 7-2 decisions, that the President of the United States is not above the law.

The small-minded part of me found it particularly delicious that President Trump's two appointees—Gorsuch and Kavanaugh—voted with Chief Justice Roberts and the liberal minority in both instances.

After all, Trump had referred to his appointees as “his” justices; how dare they cross him like that! Justices who uphold settled law going back 250 years—it’s all a plot against him!

Two Important Lessons About Our Silence in the Presence of Racist Jokes

Paul Scanlon is a motivational speaker in England.

While I'm sure that few of us actually tell racist jokes at this point, how do/would we react if we were in a situation where we realized that one was about to be told? The importance of Scanlon's message can't be sufficiently underscored as we grapple with the systemic racism that has finally become more widely apparent at this critical juncture in our national life.

How I Found My Inner Harpist On My Smartphone

Ah, the image: I am seated at a magnificent golden harp, my flowing blonde tresses resting on my shoulders, my tall, slender body leaning slightly forward, long fingers playing glissando after glissando. I am just warming up, but I am already enraptured.

Oh, the reality: It’s true that I’m thin and have long fingers. The rest of the description is more problematic.

Policing Covid-19: Managing Risk During the Lockdown | Doctorate

Note from Annie:

In my efforts to find some positive ways to address the painful gap between the police and the people they serve, I came across this report written by my fellow blogger Matthew Richardson, whom I know as a gifted short story writer and poet. As he notes, he was asked by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research to do the following report. If you follow the links, you’ll find some very interesting concepts such as “policing by consent.” (!)

When I asked Matthew to tell me how he thinks police-community relations are now, he said: “…we have a long way to go in the UK until we are a truly representative service (there were only 11 officers self-describing as Gypsy/Traveller in 2017 in Police Scotland for example), and other BAME groups are similarly underrepresented. It is also only a short time since the Met police were described as ‘institutionally racist’ in the aftermath of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, and some would argue that lessons have not been learned from incidents such as these.

I would argue that progress has been made since these days, but we still have a long, long way to go. Listening, the inclusion of BAME groups in training, and increased recruitment of individuals from these groups are certainly places to start. From my experience in the states, culturally we are miles apart. I can remember going to a big academic policing conference in 2017 where me and one other UK officer were the only ones not carrying a firearm – a totally bizarre experience for me! I’m really hopeful that my research will do its small bit in helping to improve service delivery for Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller groups in Scotland.”

Matthew Richardson

Morning folks,

I’ve been asked by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research to write a little piece about additional considerations during the Covid-19 pandemic. From engagement to explaining, to custody suites and Coronavirus legislation, I’ve tried to squeeze as much into 800 words as I could. I also discuss the impact Covid-19 has had on some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people and communities such as domestic abuse victims and Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller groups.

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Lesson From the Woke Dentist–and Questions From Other Stories We Need to Keep Reconsidering…

A friend (white) who likes and respects his dentist (also white) was curious about the dentist’s reactions to our nation’s turmoil in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by the police.

The dentist responded:

“I finally get it. My son’s been working on me for a while, but now it’s really clear.”

But, my friend persisted, since the media coverage has largely lost its intensity, is he still as focused on the issue?

“Yes,” said the dentist.

Are We–at Last–Ready to Let the Sun Shine In?

I have written several times on my blog about Doug Glanville, a friend of my daughter’s since childhood who is a multitalented and lovely individual: former Major League baseball player, sports commentator, writer and New York Times contributor, educator on sports and social justice, etc, etc. (He currently has a sports-related podcast called Starkville in collaboration with baseball writer Jayson Stark—I am happy to give that a plug!)...

Doug sent me a copy of the video below, "Enough!," which he wrote and narrated and ESPN produced. I find his "personal call to action" powerful, searing, and eventually hopeful--another chance for us all. Please join me in watching it. If you've seen it before, I think it merits another viewing.

My Friend Responds to “You Broke It; You Fix It!”

I noted in my previous post that the title I used above was a response from my friend, an African American woman, to my efforts last year to encourage dialogue on race in America.

She sent me her reactions to the events described in Wednesday's post (which she liked) via email, and I feel her words are yet another important message for us white folks to hear. We hear them, but do we really hear them?

Can we feel them? Can we picture ourselves in the situations she describes? And how will--or will--any of this affect our actions going forward?

Can we transform the outrage we feel now to effect changes, staying the course, because it won't be quick or easy?

Here's my friend's response:

“You Broke It; You Fix It!”

When I ran a series of posts on my blog last year in the hope of encouraging dialogue about how we talk about race in America, the comment above was made by a woman I worked with a years ago who became a friend.

She’s an African American who has risen high in her chosen field—despite not having a college degree—by virtue of her extraordinary intelligence and diligence.

Her view was that she was tired of having to explain stuff to white people; it was our turn now.

I saw an identical comment on Twitter yesterday from another African American woman...
It’s time we white people acknowledged that this problem is ours to fix—all of ours, as a country, but it will never happen if white people don’t recognize our role and responsibility.

Here’s a Guy Who Really Made Good Use of His Time!

Nobody would ever accuse me of being a math whiz, though I do feel I have skills some of my younger acquaintances lack: I eschew a calculator on occasion to make sure the various cortices of my brain responsible for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division get a little workout.

You just never know when your battery may run down while you’re stranded on a desert island and have an immediate need to balance your checkbook.

Oh, and there’s another mathematical task that I’ve mastered. An older friend told me not long ago that physicians who are concerned that a patient may be in the early stages of dementia will test mental agility by asking said patient to subtract backwards from 100—by 8s. I’ve gotten quite facile at that effort—and have moved on to 7s with similar success.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m inviting you to join me in exploring a story that involves number theory—a deep dive that I have no business whatsoever attempting. But my friend Allan, who excels in math, knows I like quirky stories and thoughtfully sent me this one, which appeared in Popular Mechanics.

On Watching Michelle Obama Becoming…

She is an international icon, yet she talks with strangers as if they are her very best friends. She revels in her status, yet openly discusses her vulnerabilities. She moves deftly from riotous humor to wrenching soul-searching with an apparent spontaneity that's surely grounded in practice. She’s a marvel.

If you’re fortunate enough to have Netflix access, you can watch the new documentary, Becoming, now. If you don’t have Netflix, I’m sure it will be more widely distributed in the near future.

I don’t think my description of the film will detract from your experience: Michelle Obama’s magnetism—and the poignancy of the recent trajectory of her life and that of President Obama—must be witnessed to be fully appreciated. (The amazing orator, President Charisma, plays a relatively small part in this documentary.)

Well, I Hadn’t Planned To Write About This Matter Again–And Certainly Not So Soon…

After The New York Times published an Op-Ed by a woman who said she believed Tara Reade’s assertion that Joe Biden had sexually assaulted her—but she would vote for him anyway, Biden was asked in an interview what he thought about that. He responded:

“If she believes Tara Reade, she shouldn’t vote for me. If I believed Tara Reade, I wouldn’t vote for me.”

Here’s Why I Feel Compelled to Return to the Issue Now

Dealing With My Anger In The Age of Trump And The Pandemic

Here’s how I would reallyreallyreally like to feel when I think about Donald Trump, his Senate Republican enablers, and the thugs who are using the pandemic to terrorize and strut around with their AR-15s and shotguns:

“Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your neighbors.”

“Do not allow your anger to control your reason, but rather your reason to control your anger.”

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind me, I would still be in prison.”

In other words, I would like to have the heart and patience and wisdom of Nelson Mandela.

Frogs Do It, Bees Do It–Even Educated “We’s” Do It…

I altered the first line of an old song (“Let’s Fall in Love”) to shamelessly draw you in to a discussion of an important topic.

As an intro, here’s a little Haiku for These Times

Social distancing—
Ants isolate selves when ill
Healthy queen makes room.

Why are ants so much smarter than a growing number of humans? I’m speaking now of the American variety (of humans, not ants), but surely there are others.

The Allegations Against Biden: The Press Presses On…

In my previous post, I expressed my belief in Joe Biden’s innocence of charges of sexual assault, as well as my great concern that the press would keep the story alive, thereby damaging an innocent man.

I didn’t discuss the now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in that post (except in the comments section) because I think comparisons with the charge against Biden are totally off base. 

So does New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg. She remains skeptical about Biden, but states that Democrats "would never have the audacity to demand that their political opponents act on a story with as many ambiguities as Reade's." 

But I must say the two men’s reactions tell me much about temperament and character.

Why I Believe Joe Biden Did Not Commit Sexual Assault

This post began as an exploration of presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden's positions on the issues. I imagined myself chatting with him while he was  endeavoring to campaign from his basement.

But the charges of sexual assault against him by a former staffer, Tara Reade, are getting a good deal of media attention.

Biden was slow to respond, allowing former staffers to speak on his behalf. But Friday morning, he issued a statement, which you can read here.

He speaks of his pride in the role he played in developing the Violence Against Women Act, and then he says:

“My mind is a bad neighborhood that I try not to go into alone.” (Anne Lamott, Novelist)

These are times that are creating great and widespread anxiety, to be sure. Many people report experiencing nightmares. Few of us can remain fully unscathed as we’re forced to change our routines and cut ourselves off from the people and places that have offered comfortable reassurance.

And being alone with our thoughts does not, as Anne Lamott cleverly suggests, always provide us with the best company. We can be hard on ourselves by ruminating on our plights and getting stuck in a cycle of worries. 

The President’s Daily Coronavirus Briefings–What Do You Think the Press Should Do? My Reassessment

In my April 8 post on this topic, I expressed some ambivalence about the idea that the press should no longer cover the President’s daily briefings live at all. I certainly didn’t feel they needed to show the two-plus hour nightly events in their soul-sapping entirety, but I also wondered whether disbanding live coverage completely might be a bad precedent.

I felt that the press should try to find a compromise by airing a portion and then cutting away, rather than dropping long-held norms just because he was slashing and burning them.

On Friday, I heard Eli Stokols, a White House reporter for the Los Angeles Times, say that covering this President raises profound problems for the press and is in fact, the central issue for them at this point.

Why Are Women World Leaders Combating the Coronavirus Pandemic So Well–and What Does This Tell Us About Leadership?

With the world caught in the vortex of the pandemic, it’s clear that some of the best results to date have occurred in countries that have elected women as their leaders. Indeed, an article in The Guardian bore this headline:

"The Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Coronavirus: Women."

I find this phenomenon intriguing and have been wondering what lessons might emerge to help us going forward. There seem to be several commonalities among these women.

My Fraught Relationship With The Man-In-The-Box

I reallyreallyreally do not like inanimate objects talking to me. I avoid Siri, preferring to do my own research than to hear her voice—or to have her record my every Internet search (though I hold no illusions about privacy anymore…). I am not tempted to invite Alexa into my home to find that old Sinatra record for me, thank you very much. 

And back in the day when we actually got into cars and drove places, I always resented the high-pitched voice of that GPS woman, who on occasion directed us to dead-end streets and once recommended that we exit sharply to the right when we were in the middle of a bridge. I’m not accusing her of malicious intent, but her satellite-guided bumbling was not a confidence-builder. I am perfectly capable of bumbling on my own.

Why then, do I invite the man-in-the-box into my life practically every day?

A Call to Action: Let’s Honor the Wisconsin Voters and Protect Our Democracy!

The Problem(s) Wow! Said she who always endeavors to be optimistic. Are we in trouble! First and foremost, of course, is this pandemic hanging over and among us. But the November election isn't far off, and with so much uncertainty about how wide the pandemic will spread and how long it will last, the concept … Continue reading A Call to Action: Let’s Honor the Wisconsin Voters and Protect Our Democracy!

The President’s Daily Coronavirus Briefings: What Do You Think the Press Should Do?

There is no doubt that in the midst of this fearsome pandemic, the calm factual voice of a trustworthy leader is sorely needed. But what we are getting from this President are not the Fireside Chats that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to calm the nation. This President’s litany of falsehoods, which began on Day One when his hapless then-Communications Director lied about the size of the crowds, has ruled him out as that persona.

Living Through a Pandemic: The Lighter Side

Please don’t get me wrong: I am appalled, shocked, infuriated, and beyond sadness at what’s become of our country and world.

But I also know that laughter is the best medicine, and even smiling has been shown to have a positive effect on our immune systems. As we all need our immune systems to be as strong as possible now, I thought I’d tell you some fun things—a few real, others of undetermined origins that have found their way to my inbox. (I hope you haven't seen them already!)

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS RELIEF PACKAGE(S): A Questioning Acrostic

Catastrophic delays
Of equipment for patients and carers
Reveal huge flaws in America’s design.
One thing I do
Not hear discussed
Applies to the “have nots’”
Vying for their tiny share of
Income from the supposed stimulus:
Registering their presence without
Use of computers and Internet?
Shadowy reminders of those we forget.

Wherein My Personal Blogosphere Expands Via a Fun Exchange With a Super New Acquaintance

I’ve often said that I’m one happy blogger: I love to write and to research new topics; I’m grateful for your feedback; and—this was one aspect of blogging that I hadn’t anticipated but is becoming one of the most valuable—I feel personally enriched by meeting so many extraordinary, talented people from all over the world.

The most recent is Judy Dykstra-Brown, a poet, writer, artist, and lecturer who blogs at Life Lessons. She’s a prolific blogger, posting something—sometimes several things—every day. That energy alone boggles my once-or-at-most-twice-weekly blogger mind!

More Notes From a COVID-19 Epicenter: Fighting This Thing Alone–Together

Events are moving very rapidly. Less than a week after I published my post about life in self-quarantine in an epicenter of the pandemic, far more Americans are in similar situations—some in mandatory lockdown, which I suspect will arrive in my community soon.

In my previous post, I described being in a hard-hit area with a local hospital whose CEO was profoundly worried about running out of ventilators for patients and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospital staff. When staff members become ill, obviously, there’s no one to treat patients.

How Bernie Sanders Can Rise From Politician to Statesman

Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio defied a state Supreme Court decision and cancelled his state’s primary election on March 17, citing “health concerns.” Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, whom I greatly respect, said he’s been working with DeWine, knows him well, and is confident that his decision was based on the right reason: the desire to protect the health and safety of the people of his state. So although there’s plenty of political shenanigans around, the Ohio primary cancellation doesn’t seem to have been one of them. That’s the good part.

Post Super Tuesday: The Septuagenarian Scramble Begins

So it’s come to this: two old white guys duking it out to see who can take on the third—the youngest, least qualified, and clearly impaired. I’d like to hear a drumroll from the press insisting on up-to-date medical records for each of them, based on examinations by reputable sources (not that wacky guy who declared before 2016 that Trump, if elected, would be the healthiest president in the history of the solar system—or perhaps the universe). 

To be sure, both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are flawed candidates (as are just about all the others—but none even remotely as flawed as the current White House occupant). I would have strongly preferred a younger person, one of the highly competent women, and I hope whoever wins the nomination will select a woman of color as his vice presidential nominee.