(Gotta mix things up in Annie land; it’s time for a breather from the headlines.) Way back in February, I wrote a piece called “It’s the Cereal, Stupid!” about my spouse’s and my cereal/serial bickering over the every-other-day task of generating steel cut oatmeal for our consumption at breakfast.
Remember the notorious Access Hollywood video that surfaced in 2016, in which the former President and current Republican party cult leader joked about grabbing women inappropriately? Many of us naively thought that would automatically disqualify him. Alas! We’ve learned of any number of alleged sexual improprieties by the former guy. As of 2020, 26 women … Continue reading Whoa! What’s Going On Here?
https://twitter.com/BidensWins/status/1490702636810649601?s=20&t=FJs1GAIbrOFpsyaYZdTGlQ Yes, there is actually good news. Some enterprising person is finally getting the idea that the President’s low poll numbers are in part due to a lack of proper messaging. I just began to follow @BidensWins on Twitter, which I suspect began in February. It consists of pithy little things--some for fun, some serious--that … Continue reading On the Economy, Biden Wins!
Photo by Duanu00e9 Viljoen on Pexels.com (Excerpts below from historian Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American newsletter, May 2, 2022) “Tonight, news broke of a leaked draft of what appears to be Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s majority decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing access to abortion as a … Continue reading What a “Weird Moment” We’re In…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtDgkjdJpuI Madeleine Korbel Albright, our nation’s first woman Secretary of State, knew authoritarianism up close and so very personal. Born in Czechoslovakia, she arrived in the US—on the ship SS America—with her diplomat father and family when she was eleven years old. At that young age, she’d already survived the Nazis' blitz of London and … Continue reading A Great American’s Final Warning to Us
Photo by Daniil Komov on Pexels.com Not long ago, I posted some fascinating insights I’d learned about Lessons from Plants. Our flora friends depend on one another for the important things in life. They don’t hold back in asking for help. I wasn’t surprised, then, to learn about similar behaviors in birds. And I’d long … Continue reading Team Magpie Wins Round One
https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/1515134737421119493 Experts' views of the Russians' horrific war against Ukraine have changed over the weeks of battle--and the once-impossible scenario depicting the Ukrainians actually stopping the Russians has gained favor. Now, with the Russians claiming they plan to push on to overtake Moldova, the threat of a widening war that the US has tried to … Continue reading Should the US Provide Frozen Russian Assets to Ukraine?
Sunlight sweeps across our yard in a glistening arc. Adolescent trees sway rhythmically in a Wind so tamed from the wrath I feared in March that I smile with relief at the trees’ gentle dance. But wait; there’s more: The goldfinches visit en masse, Their feathers startlingly brighter, richer— Another paean to the lengthening stretch … Continue reading A Slice of Wonder in a Trembling World
Whenever I see an essay bearing Doug Glanville's byline, I know I should set aside the time to read and savor it. I've written about Glanville several times and carried one of his pieces here and a video here. A friend of my older daughter's since childhood, he is an extraordinarily gifted person: former baseball … Continue reading A Few Truly Special Jackie Robinson Stories
NOTE: I wrote this piece on Friday, planning to post in on Wednesday. My original title was "Twitter, Twitter, What Have You Done?" But this morning's news changes all that in what may be a more ominous way.
I'm not one to look to entertainers for personal heroism. And I'm certainly aware that the made-for-public-consumption exteriors often hide some fairly unpleasant human beings. But I've long found musician Jon Batiste--a jazz pianist best known as the "Stay Human" band leader for Stephen Colbert's program--to be an extremely appealing guy: upbeat and open, seemingly … Continue reading Fame and Adversity, Love and Grace
Tomorrow (April 7), my favorite legislator will swing into action to breathe new life into the First Amendment. Former Constitutional Law Professor and Constitution devotee Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, will begin hearings to expose and investigate the nationwide attempts to throttle free speech in schools and public libraries.
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com In the midst of the loud, dreadful—and grossly distorted—attacks on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, one of her many admirable qualities impressed me the most. Judge Jackson, the daughter of educators, is a superb educator as well. I found myself fascinated by her explanations … Continue reading A Teaching Justice: Why America Needs Judge Jackson Now!
Photo by Ramaz Bluashvili on Pexels.com I am listening to Rep. Jamie Raskin reading the audio version of his wrenching and beautiful memoir, Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and American Democracy. Raskin (D.-MD) is a former Constitutional law professor who headed the House team that sought to persuade the Senate to convict Donald Trump after his second … Continue reading The Transfer of Power: Abe Lincoln and January 6th
You’ve no doubt heard about the Senate’s vote last week on the “Sunshine Protection Act.” This extraordinary bit of bipartisanship would make daylight savings time (DST) permanent beginning in 2023. After that, we’d no longer “fall back.” One more “spring forward”—and there we’ll stay. Forever sprung. And that’s a good thing? Maybe not.
Bill Barr Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org We’ve all had a lovely reprieveFrom Bill-Barr’s penchant to deceiveBut he’s back with a hook:It’s his new “tell-all” bookWith li(n)es he assumes we’ll believe. Let me state that I will not payOne cent for this Bill-Barr display;I can learn what I needFrom reviews that I readOf the Truth he’ll … Continue reading Bill-Barr One Mo’ Time…I Seek Refuge in Rhyme
https://twitter.com/VeraMBergen/status/1498814410911006723?s=20&t=Dk0uqy0THzs3KICGmMekuw The Ukraine President when he was just playing one on TV. This is a clip from "Servant of the People," the TV show starring Volodymyr Zelensky in which he portrayed a teacher who was elected President of Ukraine after a video of him as a corruption fighter in the show went viral. His performance … Continue reading The Heroic Zelensky in Happier Times
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com I am sitting in my comfortable warm home, a sliver of sunlight illuminating the papers on my desk, the sounds outside confined to the occasional passing car and disparate birdsongs. I am writing one day before the US Congress will hear an impassioned speech delivered by the individual who has … Continue reading Bearing Witness, Asking for More…
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com This post was originally a rather formal "Open Letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland." I began by praising him for the extraordinary courage and skill he showed in prosecuting the horrific 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and said I'd heard a number of his former colleagues attest to his intellect, … Continue reading AG Garland and That Pesky Matter…
Photo by Rodrigo on Pexels.com To my cautious, risk-averse self, the concept of rock climbing is beyond the beyond. I am fascinated, however, by those who’ll go where I would never tread. I’m also fascinated by the amazing world of biotech, which continually presses against the limits of human health and capabilities—and often extends them … Continue reading Our Cyborgian Future
I am a fan of historian Heather Cox Richardson, whose Letters From an American newsletter invariably helps put the events we're living through in historical context. Richardson wrote to her subscribers on March 4 that she encourages people who feel helpless to change the direction of our future that we can do so by "changing … Continue reading The Historian and the President–Please Read and Watch…
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com To Shelley, the West Wind brought to mind:Seasons change; Spring can’t be far behind. Zephyrus, Chaucer’s Wind-gazing god,Sweetly exhaled with a Springlike nod To me, the Wind assaults the senses—So fiercely loud, coldly relentless. Its fury caused the Oaks’ surrender,Upending blocks of florae splendor In other acts of carefree … Continue reading The Wind and March, 2022 (With Apologies to the Literary Giants)
Listen: The RNC’s shockingEvaluation of the 1/6 Insurrection as aGarden-variety political discussionIs—in two words—nutty scary. IThink we need a collective gut checkIn which we figure out why soMany Americans would again willinglyAssign the Ship of State to actors who’llTitanically steer toward (melting) icebergsEven as its keel has just been stabilized. Please explain the “enthusiasm gap”Observed … Continue reading “Legitimate Political Discourse”?? –A Befuddled Acrostic
emorate Black History Month in a way that isn't trite and says something both pertinent and uplifting about where we are today. The conversation in Pennsylvania between Pastor Mitchell and Congressman Conor Lamb, who's running for the US Senate, moved me profoundly and met my criteria.
He's been there for a veryveryvery long time. I think he's stuck. What shall I do? Call the police? Bring him a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal? Annie ________ NOTE: With egomaniacal Vladimir Putin already moving toward what could be the largest war in Europe since World War II, I felt some silliness was in order. … Continue reading There’s a Guy Climbing Over My Neighbors’ Fence…
https://twitter.com/noliewithbtc/status/1493716224198553602?s=21 Inflation is a legitimate concern of all Americans, and the Biden administration has been doing everything it can to bring it down. The inflation stems from the pandemic, which has messed up supply chains and unleashed strong consumer spending that had been pent up during the previous few years. It's also been fueled by … Continue reading Worried About Inflation? Here’s How the Republicans Are Fighting It…
Why "We're a Republic, not a Democracy" is so wrong--and why we must respond to those who say it.
With all the concerns about the various attempts to disenfranchise voters, another voting issue hasn’t been talked about much. ..."the epidemic of uncounted ballots in America."
Tiny lizards inspired biologist Thor Hanson to write a book: "Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squids." I heard him speak in yet another fascinating Alan Alda Clear&Vivid podcast. Hanson’s book, Alda says, is about “the ways plants and animals are responding as we humans are messing with their lives.”
Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com In one of my previous lives as a freelance writer, I was active in the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). One of ASJA’s yearly efforts was a celebration of the freedom to read through commemorating Banned Books Week, which you can read about here. One year, I … Continue reading “We the Students” Want to Read Banned Books!
A powerful new documentary about courageous women in the 1960s has messages for us today.
The pounding in my head has been almost unbearable. Sporadic, fortunately, but I shudder from its power, reaching for a way to steady myself. Immediately following, moments of relative quiet, then the incessant buzzing—for seconds…then minutes…to an hour at a time. Our neighborhood is in the throes of a necessary but painful clearing of old trees. My mind doesn’t doubt the validity of the decision. My gut and heart feel otherwise.
"And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders--to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.” --President Obama, eulogizing John R. Lewis
President Obama presents Congressman John Lewis with Presidential Medal of Freedom. Image commons.wikimedia.org It feels as though the Doomsday Clock for American democracy and stability took a swing in the wrong direction these past few days. Two greed-driven Democrats whose campaign coffers have been swelling with special interest money even though they’re not up for … Continue reading I Choose Hope for America
Essential viewing (!). Says a lot in only 1-1/2 minutes.
And why should we care? If curiosity and learning for learning’s sake aren’t enough, I found this story suggestive of the sweep of history and millipedes’—and our—places within it. Please accompany me on this creepy-crawly journey that, despite the overly ambitious topic, I’ve tried to keep mercifully brief.
Commemorating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, I reprint my acrostic for Nancy Pelosi and colleagues--and exhort us all to overcome our fatigue to actively protect our fragile democracy.
Pondering how to approach the New Year with the shadow of January 6th lingering, I derive inspiration from the young poet we met at President Biden's inauguration: Amanda Gorman.
Appreciation and special recognition for a fine blogging tradition: from its originator to the current keeper of the flame.
This extraordinary woman has become a superb advocate for working poor people. Her message and efforts are important for us all.
Can past discussions about the possible contents of a "Bill of Responsibilities" assist us now?
Wherein I close the books--or posts--on the saga of my knee replacement.
What is the responsibility of journalists when our country is in "an existential struggle between self-governance and an authoritarian alternative"?
Amazon towers over the book market, which it has transformed. But customers seem to be getting antsy--with good reason.
The Supreme Court majority's questions during oral arguments about the Mississippi abortion law suggest a dangerous precedent extending beyond abortion.
A video on Facebook showing an elephant painting a self-portrait is more revealing than first appeared.
With the belief that our nation becomes stronger as we examine the times that we've failed, sometimes grievously, to live up to our ideals, I'm providing this story assembled by The Washington Post. he Myth of Thanksgiving" explores the storied first Thanksgiving dinner between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts on the anniversary of its 400-year occurrence. The article places the events in context and brings us up to date on the fate of the tribe--and of Indigenous people in the US generally.
How developing and expressing a sense of gratitude can help us physically, psychologically--perhaps even politically!
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com B ought at a Dollar Store’s adieu sale A leafy stalked duo graced our table for M ore than two years; then decay crept in. B argaining for lengthened time with us, to O utwit apoptosis, I severed leaves from stalks. O ver time, new roots promise love and … Continue reading An Acrostic for Love and Luck, Plus World Children’s Day
Some valuable insights on remaining "steady" while navigating through our volatile nation and world.
Physician and CBS News Correspondent Jon LaPook talks with Alan Alda about physicians and empathy.
--Or at least our bank was, and that's pretty creepy, don't you think?
The letter from the bank about this turn of events seemed ominous. First, it was dated November 3 and arrived on November 9. That meant, we suspected, that the evil-doers had had nearly a week to do their evil without our knowledge. Why was our bank so lackadaisical?
He’s the guy with falling poll numbers. Pundits have laid Virginia’s gubernatorial loss at his feet and have depicted his Presidency as a growing disaster. The right wing claims he’s senile and bumbling (unlike their purported hero, who sounds increasingly unhinged with every public appearance). But the person I saw on the news this morning was an ebullient leader who faced the press in a winning lap after the bipartisan passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. He was cogent, calm, and humorous as he described the contents of this bill that will become law as soon as he signs it.
A bit of fun with two budding four-footed Instagram stars.
Diverse voices that validate how important it is for Americans to be aware of the dangers our democracy faces now--and to make sure we protect it.
A quick look at what's happened since the controversial approval of an expensive first-ever drug to treat Alzheimer's disease.
A funny thing happened on my way to recovery from my knee replacement. A cautionary tale about heavy meds.
Some thoughtful--perhaps controversial (?)--advice about writing from a best-selling author.
We're at the brink of what could be transformative change that vastly improves American lives--and may even reduce polarization. Why then, are we simply hearing about timelines and bottom lines--and not the significance of this legislation and what it would accomplish?
Please respond to this critically important call to action from TokyoSand. The Republican Party must not be permitted to throw our economy and country into chaos.
Journalist Eugene Robinson has written what I believe is one of the wisest opinion pieces about events in Afghanistan.
The surprising and deeply disturbing events in Afghanistan deserve in-depth examination. Historian Heather Cox Richardson provides some background and insights.
A couple of fun items from social media.
A quick hello as I move toward resuming my twice-weekly blogging schedule.
An explanation for some probably imminent blogging lapses...
With the rise of the Delta variant, which is infecting younger people, the need to break through vaccination hesitation/misinformation has become even more urgent--for us all.
A Cautionary Tale? Probably not...
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...
I'm learning "Lessons from Plants" just as we welcome ten new residents from this amazing world into our backyard.
With screeds to "defund the military" coming from extremists, we need to hear from voices of reason to counter these politically motivated attacks.
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.”
Some fun with our furry friends...and a brief appreciation for the recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday.
Have billionaires received a public relations coup from "The Giving Pledge" that averts attention from their failure to pay their fair share in taxes--and the urgent need for tax reform to fund priorities most Americans agree we need?
I am writing to you today with a dollop more optimism about the future of our democracy than I’ve had to date.
Normally, I’d be excited to explore and write about a breakthrough medical development that could vastly improve and extend the quality of life for more than 6 million people. But I am worried about that newly approved drug for Alzheimer’s disease—and not just about the drug itself.
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.
President Biden used his Memorial Day Address at Arlington National Cemetery to honor our nation's fallen service members and tie their sacrifices to protecting our democracy.
Wherein I stumble into a lively and rich new world that's actually surrounded me all along.
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.
This is a story that combines several happy elements—good old American ingenuity, the importance of immigrants in our nation’s life and future, and real potential advances in both creating good new jobs and enhancing our efforts to protect the earth from climate change.
I am reblogging this post by TokyoSand at politicalcharge.org: it includes valuable links for action to counter the anti-democratic efforts by Republicans nationwide to suppress the vote.
Developmental biologist Michael Levin is doing some cutting-edge research that may be yet another way to learn the secrets of life--with potentially far-reaching implications.
Amid the deeply troubling and complex topic of persistent misinformation, a group of researchers found ways to counter this trend on social media.
“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.”
Revisiting my approach to forthcoming knee surgery: beyond my imperfect patella, described in imperfect rhyme.
Some people are amazingly good at a great many things. Brian May, founder of the rock group Queen, is also an astrophysicist and inventor. I found an interview with him fascinating.
Despite the apparent progress toward diversity in Hollywood, a new report finds it's the least diverse industry in the US. What are the implications? Please read on...
A spring tribute to the joys of Nature so close at hand.
“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.
Dealing with a surgical dilemma, I resort to the comfort of an acrostic to describe my plight.
Alan Alda, invariably remembered as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV show M*A*S*H, has had an extraordinarily diverse career. He recently received a very special award. I link to the award presentation video and tell you some of the highlights of this remarkable man's achievements.
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.
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.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky said we're so close to reining in the pandemic, but she feels impending gloom if we return to our pre-COVID ways too soon. Here are resources to help us encourage those who may be reluctant to be vaccinated.--including ourselves.
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.
“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.
Thoughts (in couplets) inspired by a gentoo penguin's flight from killer whales in Antartica.
The extraordinary Heather McGhee, author of a new book, The Sum of Us, describes how racism hurts white people as well as Black Americans, and how we can work to change the dynamic for the good of us all.
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.)
Marc Elias was instrumental in defeating the stream of litigation filed in behalf of Donald Trump in his efforts to overturn the election. Elias has warnings for us now, and he's both litigating and educating Americans about the urgency in protecting our democracy.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This haiku carries with it my gratitude to the House impeachment managers, all superb, but especially lead manager Congressman Jamie Raskin, whose brilliance, dedication, and patriotism shone despite his grieving the death of his son.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”?
Awakened Inauguration Day Elation! Excitedly attuned in to pre-event chatter OH-N-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!! TV peculiarly, mercilessly image-free
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.
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?
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…
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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.
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.
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.
I am profoundly grateful to each and every one of you for visiting, joining, and commenting on my blog posts. You’ve been with me as I’ve ranted politically, offered acrostics that have gone out of whack, shamelessly indulged my penchant for bad puns, and tackled topics that may well have benefited from an MD or PhD’s oversight.
Having recently expressed my alarm at the negative impact of social media on us as individuals and on our society, I feel moved to show one of the positives that has affected me profoundly.
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”
Around this time last year, I wrote a tribute to my late friend Peter, a wonderful, generous soul with a brilliant, restless mind and a quirky wit. Among the many things Peter taught me was how intelligent rats are. He loved rats, and through his eyes and tutelage, I came to see these “filthy rodents” in a fresh way.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
I thank blogger Judy Dykstra-Brown at lifelessons, who first posted this powerful, must-see video. Please keep in mind that the film was shown in 2016. So much devastation has occurred in the interim to heighten the urgency of its message.
A Slightly Giddy Little Ditty--Dressed in White
In this Centennial Year of Women’s Suffrage
A guy named Joe gave the celebration a nudge
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…
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.
What’s that acrid, dreadful odor? A decaying animal within our walls? That’s happened once or thrice— A facet of our coexistence ...
I began this post hoping to find some information to help me fathom these election results—and then present what I’ve learned to you in the hope that you’ll respond with your insights...But along the way, the picture got considerably murkier.
With inspiration from writer Anand Giridharadas, here are thoughts about how President-elect Joe Biden may govern as President Joe Biden.
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.
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.
The presentation below should calm jangled nerves--whether or not you choose to watch the returns.
The election is a job interview. This political ad asks, ‘Would you hire Donald Trump?’
[Note from Annie: I think the article below, which appeared in The Washington Post on October 24, provides a helpful addition to the public’s understanding of Joe Biden from the perspective of someone who worked closely with him--in this case, on foreign policy.
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.)
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.
The timing is eerie--and not because I wrote the original post admitting to my commission of Murder One: Beetlecide so close to Halloween. No; my unease is due to the fact that the episode that occurred just days ago is pretty darned close to the anniversary of my previous offense. Surely that has meaning...
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
An article in The Atlantic and President Trump's refusal to accept a peaceful transition if he loses have created a frenzy. I'm hoping to bring a measure of calm to all this frenzy.
It all seemed so simple. For our weekly Zoom get-together with friends, one woman suggested a discussion of a rather quirky event: an organ recital of a work by American composer John Cage. But is it 2 hours with an intermission? No. Perhaps, since John Cage was known for his innovations, it would take place over a day or two? Nope.