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Congress Has a New “Dads Caucus”: What’s That All About?

In my previous post, I described efforts to magnify stories that fight the negative narratives swirling around us, which are drowning out evidence of progress and the good that government does. I am grateful to historian Heather Cox Richardson for relating two relevant examples I would otherwise have missed. She calls them “relatively small things…that … Continue reading Congress Has a New “Dads Caucus”: What’s That All About?

“We Have to Fight the Narrative”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHJgD-TJZvY&t=229s What Narrative? The one(s) that jeopardize our country from within, which are not just blared daily by the likes of Fox News, but are lazily amplified by what are familiarly and collectively called the “mainstream media.” The Narrative that is now spewing non-stop from Congress, where McCarthy’s Traitors in the People’s House are in … Continue reading “We Have to Fight the Narrative”

Another Triumph Over Fundamentalism Run Amok

Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie's newest novel has just been published, and so far the reviews have been very positive. A New York Times article printed in advance of that publication’s review quotes a critic from The Times of London who described this novel, Victory City, as “one of Rushdie’s most joyful” books, in which “the … Continue reading Another Triumph Over Fundamentalism Run Amok

Guess What! In 2022, “Republicans Lost and Voters Won in Court”

Photo by Mark Youso on Pexels.com Yes, it’s true, though it may not have seemed this way. In addition to the defeat of some of the most extreme Big Liars last November, the year was marked by plenty of victories for voters seeking to exercise their rights--via the courts. Much of the credit for these … Continue reading Guess What! In 2022, “Republicans Lost and Voters Won in Court”

Living Well Missing a Part of Your Brain: Three Women’s Stories

Image found at https://www.ninds.nih.gov I am fascinated by neuroplasticity: the brain’s remarkable ability to adapt after it suffers from illness or injury. Recently, I came across two stories of women whose ability to function had not been severely affected by the absence of chunks of their brain. Both stories are documented in the scientific literature. … Continue reading Living Well Missing a Part of Your Brain: Three Women’s Stories

MLK’s Radical Message Must Not Be Lost

Photo by Tim Simons on Pexels.com This morning, I read a Dan Rather tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that resonated with me. But when I returned to copy it, the ending seemed different. The passages immediately below, I now realize, were from Rather's column written at this time last year. "I fear that … Continue reading MLK’s Radical Message Must Not Be Lost

O, California!

Photo by zoe pappas on Pexels.com Such promise in your Golden GatesSuch fortunes panned from your Golden SoilSuch allure wrapped within your Golden Glamour Your rivers once parched beyond recognitionGreedily assuage their thirst with the perverseBounty of Floodwaters rising, rising I can’t get past the missing five-year-old boy,Wrenched from his mother’s arms byThis pernicious lifeblood … Continue reading O, California!

Amid the Awfulness: A Bit of Fun…

There's a great deal that's concerning about the 118th Congress. For example, --I heard a discussion about the national security implications of the world's seeing the Republicans' fiasco in choosing a Speaker as a sign of our weakness. Foes have been emboldened; friends have been jolted. President Biden's reminder that when he first met with … Continue reading Amid the Awfulness: A Bit of Fun…

I Have a Few Questions…

https://twitter.com/ronbrownstein/status/1610743054184624128?s=51&t=7oTuJX8QEcMZko1kYRp6aw Let's start with the question raised above by journalist Ronald Brownstein. What the hell are we seeing in the People's House? OK. We know twenty Insurrectionists and/or Big Liars are holding the Republican caucus hostage. The world is watching the House of Representatives at a standstill. The not-so-merry band of do-badders who've promised to … Continue reading I Have a Few Questions…

A Shovel, Yo-Yo Ma, and an Odd Close to 2022…

https://twitter.com/yoyo_ma/status/1609414029067296772?s=51&t=LvOMUrZ2xSDctWASSvuc5Q I’m a Yo-Yo Ma devotee, admiring both his versatile musical artistry and his good works. I share the wishes he conveys in the brief snippet above: May 2023 be “fabulous” for us all! The shovel he used to usher out the Old Year seems appropriate too. Though there were some important positive developments last … Continue reading A Shovel, Yo-Yo Ma, and an Odd Close to 2022…

Here Are the (non-Taylor) Swifties: Jon Swift Roundup 2022

I'm grateful to have been invited to participate in the Jon Swift Roundup 2022, a lovely blogging tradition begun by a satiric blogger named Al Weisel, whose nom de blog was Jon Swift. It was Weisel's way to encourage other bloggers with audiences less robust than his own. After Weisel's untimely death, several of his … Continue reading Here Are the (non-Taylor) Swifties: Jon Swift Roundup 2022

Nancy Pelosi’s Final Press Conference–Imbued With History As She Makes Her Own

https://twitter.com/SpeakerPelosi/status/1606019529972322326?s=20&t=cSj4h5Nzb4D8PzU_n4k1Gw From Churchill to Zelensky…from JFK to Biden. Nancy Pelosi’s multiple attributes include both a strong sense of history and the ability to envelop the day’s events with an appropriate, memorable antecedent. I had the pleasure of watching her final weekly press conference as Speaker last Thursday morning. (The complete transcript is here.) The reporters … Continue reading Nancy Pelosi’s Final Press Conference–Imbued With History As She Makes Her Own

Reading My Friend Peter’s SNAFU Letter at Christmas Time: A Reblog Prompted by a Stranger’s Final Twitter Message

’m not terribly fond of Christmas letters, which sometimes resemble those Facebook entries in which people tell you all the details of their day, including every morsel they ingested. But there was one letter I always looked forward to receiving. It was from my friend Peter, my colleague at the continuing medical education company that was my last job before retirement. Technically, I was Peter’s “boss,” a word I loathed, as I really believed in a collaborative work environment. But with Peter, it was irrelevant: he needed no bossing.  Though his position was medical editor, he possessed two masters degrees and a PhD. It was our/my great good fortune that he wound up in that office. He was brilliant.

The Jan. 6 Committee Referrals: A Belt-and-Suspenders Case* for the DOJ (Acrostic)

A nd now we wait… B ecause nine thoughtful, careful, patrioticE lected officials have sent the DOJ aL ayered litany of criminal chargesT hat exceeded expectations… A ssembled support for statutes—N otably Inciting an Insurrection—soD amning to Donald and cronies that S everal experts point out the U nusual diversity of options.S ummoning armed zealotsP … Continue reading The Jan. 6 Committee Referrals: A Belt-and-Suspenders Case* for the DOJ (Acrostic)

“Are We in the West Weaker Than the Ukrainians?”

Dec. 14, 2022 (An Urgent Message for Americans reprinted from THE NEW YORK TIMES) Credit...Emile Ducke for The New York Times By Nicholas Kristof Opinion Columnist “We will beat the Ukrainian out of you so that you love Russia,” a Russian interrogator told one torture survivor I spoke to in Ukraine, before he whipped her … Continue reading “Are We in the West Weaker Than the Ukrainians?”

How Do You Train a Butterfly? The Same Way You Train an Orthopedic Surgeon! (Reblogging a 2019 Post)

Ken Ramirez, a world-renowned animal trainer, was offered quite the challenge. A botanical specialty group in the United Kingdom had built a large garden in the midst of some tall buildings in London—a garden that was home to thousands of butterflies of varying species, as well as many other types of flora and fauna. Its purpose: to show the “symbiotic relationship between plants and animals,” wrote Ramirez, describing the task ahead. “The director of the project, Lucinda Bartholomew, had envisioned a fundraising gala presentation that would include an orchestra in the middle of the garden playing beautiful classical music while butterflies flew from one part of the garden to the other.” They wouldn’t just fly willy-nilly, mind you. The idea was to design and implement a plan to train more than 10,000 butterflies to traverse the garden, on cue, in unison. Now if someone offered me an assignment that seemed like an impossibility, I’d think long and hard about it. But the fact that Ramirez hadn’t ever worked with butterflies before and knew little about their sensory mechanisms didn’t deter him at all. Ensured help from the group’s butterfly experts, he enthusiastically agreed. ”What a unique training opportunity!,” he wrote.

Has the Supreme Court Just Pulled Back From the Brink?

For those of you who are sensible enough not to follow all the machinations of the parts of our government that are really behaving very badly—that is, for people who’ve taken oaths to protect our democracy—the Supreme Court’s oral arguments about Moore v. Harper may not have been foremost in your minds. I understand. So … Continue reading Has the Supreme Court Just Pulled Back From the Brink?

The Giving Season In–and For–Ukraine

https://twitter.com/zelenskyyua/status/1599162627908722688?s=51&t=cTYFiiJPa9YsGqGR8dbAZQ Tweet From President ZelenskyPresident Zelensky's message evoked an emotional reaction from me. Despite the appearance of normality in his tweet, the harsh winter has begun. Its impact has been worsened by the brutal Russian attacks not only on civilians, but also on the sources of heat and electricity. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian freedom fighters are … Continue reading The Giving Season In–and For–Ukraine

So This Is the (Expletive Deleted) That Happened Here Yesterday

Photo by Leeloo Thefirst on Pexels.com I had my post nearly ready for publishing in the morning. I went through it one final time and made some tweaks that I thought were improvements. I pressed "Publish" about 9:30 am and then looked, as I always do, at the places where it should appear: WP Reader? … Continue reading So This Is the (Expletive Deleted) That Happened Here Yesterday

About That Special Counsel…(whose first action knocked down Donald Trump)

JACK SMITH* A staccato-short name, at once ordinary and reminiscent of dozens of spy novels. A photo suggesting pugnacity and determination. The photo seems to mesh with the opinions expressed by those who know him and have worked with him. Former Mueller investigation prosecutor Andrew Weissmann has said that he has himself been described as … Continue reading About That Special Counsel…(whose first action knocked down Donald Trump)

Why I’m Still Loath to Leave the Twitterverse

https://twitter.com/bebeneuwirth/status/1595954909001781248?s=51&t=W6b3mhjeObksR0oS3U4paw I suppose I might have seen this delightful image of humans' best friends learning a life-enhancing skill for the people they'll soon assist somewhere else, but I saw it on Twitter. And it was enriched by the exuberant comment from actress, singer, dancer Bebe Neuwirth. I didn't know Bebe Neuwirth was on Twitter, and … Continue reading Why I’m Still Loath to Leave the Twitterverse

Gun Violence vs Democracy

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are incompatible with a craven Supreme Court majority’s opening the doors to madness in 2008 by ruling in the Heller decision that the Second Amendment applies to individual gun ownership—in people’s homes. Many legal scholars question that interpretation of the Second Amendment, which ignores the reference to a … Continue reading Gun Violence vs Democracy

GEORGIA SENATE VOTE ALERT!

If you live in Georgia or know anyone who does, including students who are registered to vote there but go to school elsewhere, please note that early voting is already under way in some counties, including DeKalb, and voting will occur THIS SATURDAY! https://twitter.com/victorshi2020/status/1595460409720721408?s=51&t=GlVeuLYVo1kzKoU8kLc-Jw https://twitter.com/linacantalupa/status/1595468585006399489?s=51&t=GlVeuLYVo1kzKoU8kLc-Jw Marc Elias, whose law firm is responsible for these election … Continue reading GEORGIA SENATE VOTE ALERT!

ON FRIENDSHIP

Reblogged from Jill Dennison's November 15, 2022 post Blogging friend Jill Dennison has written a thoughtful, profound, painfully honest inquiry into the nature of friendship in our divisive times. It seems especially appropriate to ponder as families and friends gather for Thanksgiving, a holiday that is more fraught than ever with tensions. My political partisanship … Continue reading ON FRIENDSHIP

“The High Cost of Underestimating Joe Biden”

By David Rothkopf November 13, 2022 In 2020, @JoeBiden was second guessed by many (me included). He wasn’t exciting. Too old school. Talked about healing. Talked about a clear agenda when the other side had little to offer but hate and good TV ratings. And he won decisively despite the skepticism of the “smart money.” For two … Continue reading “The High Cost of Underestimating Joe Biden”

The Most Important Senator…

https://twitter.com/EarlOfEnough/status/1591635895400136704?s=20&t=V3RWtStXYgEEsHZ0y96qjg In a recent post about a potential Republican majority House of Representatives, I’d written: “Before I delve into the potential horror that may await us, I’m going out on a twig-thin limb with a prediction: the Democrats will retain their majorities and possibly pick up a Senate seat or two.” It’s getting a bit … Continue reading The Most Important Senator…

Post-Election Day Musings…The Sun Begins to Shine

Photo by Darwis Alwan on Pexels.com I watched an ebullient President Biden, with spring in his steps, mount the podium Wednesday night to face the press that’s been dismissing him for so long. For an hour, he cheerily responded to questions. One commentator fondly called it an hour-long “humble-brag.” The President said he feels confident … Continue reading Post-Election Day Musings…The Sun Begins to Shine

AN EVEN BIGGER REASON TO IGNORE THE DAMN POLLS!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com When I first heard the expression “flooding the zone," I thought it sounded somewhat conspiratorial. And it seems to be. It refers to just another Big Lie from the folks who are the experts on fabrications. Views of the elections' likely outcomes are being manipulated by a slew of … Continue reading AN EVEN BIGGER REASON TO IGNORE THE DAMN POLLS!

Please Join Me…

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com President Biden said last night: “We the people must decide whether we will have fair and free elections and every vote counts. We the people must decide whether we’re going to sustain a republic, where reality’s accepted, the law is obeyed, and your vote is truly sacred. We the … Continue reading Please Join Me…

The Republican House’s Key “Strategic Thinker” If They (Shudder) Win

Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com Hope you’ll all bear with me for a few more obsessive blog posts between now and next Tuesday. In what are my clearer moments, I realize I’ve adopted an “I Alone Can Save Democracy” grandiosity. After November 8, I’ll return to covering a wider variety of topics—some of them, … Continue reading The Republican House’s Key “Strategic Thinker” If They (Shudder) Win

Be Prepared, But Don’t Be Scared, Ignore the Polls…and Vote!

BE PREPARED I found this helpful guide on Twitter, posted by our valuable fellow blogger Tokyo Sand, who blogs at politicalcharge.org. The FBI also offers assistance via its 56 local field offices: https://www.fbi.gov/contact as well as tips.fbi.gov. https://twitter.com/dhstokyo/status/1584411737755111424?s=51&t=sY9YsroB87uwcfYBAtmofA NOTE: THE HOTLINE NUMBERS IN THE GRAPHIC ARE FOR COUNTY/STATE AND NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFICES--NOT GOVERNMENTAL SERVICES--UNLIKE … Continue reading Be Prepared, But Don’t Be Scared, Ignore the Polls…and Vote!

LET’S ALL MAKE SURE WE PROTECT DEMOCRACY ON NOVEMBER 8TH (My attempt to create a helpful candidates guide)–A Reblog/Update

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com With Two Weeks to Go: There's reason for concern, but not despair! If we all do our parts, we can still prevent the takeover of our government by a party that has stated outright its plans--plans that will assault our freedoms, the economy, and our government's stability. Using the … Continue reading LET’S ALL MAKE SURE WE PROTECT DEMOCRACY ON NOVEMBER 8TH (My attempt to create a helpful candidates guide)–A Reblog/Update

“Anything You Care About Depends Upon Democracy”

NOTE: If you click on the Deadline White House video below and the Katie Porter video farther down--and I hope you will--you'll remain on Twitter (I'm not sure why.) On my computer, I can just click out of Twitter to return to this post, but on my iPhone, I had to leave and click on … Continue reading “Anything You Care About Depends Upon Democracy”

WE NEED TO “FIGHT HARDER”…

Though the only polls that count are those on Election Day, the media are blaring poll results that show increasing support for the Republicans based on the economy. Concerns about the loss of reproductive and potentially other freedoms--and about democracy itself--appear to be receding, engulfed by voters' erroneous beliefs that the Republicans are better stewards … Continue reading WE NEED TO “FIGHT HARDER”…

OH, NO, DONALD…!?!??!

YOU DID ALL OF THIS... The FBI is seeking information about other Insurrectionists not yet apprehended. Capitol Violence Images are found at http://www.fbi.gov. ...AND THIS: BECAUSE OF THIS?!!?!!? Trump made the above comment, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the January 6 Committee, in December, 2020, when the Supreme Court Justices [he was sure … Continue reading OH, NO, DONALD…!?!??!

Part 1: Civic Goodness

Indivisible Yolo (CA) members Scott Steward and Peggy Bernardy in Reno, Nevada Note from Annie: I am devoting my blog posts this week to honoring two of the tens of thousands of Americans who have been doing the hard work for us all prior to these crucial midterm elections. Scott Steward and Peggy Bernardy are … Continue reading Part 1: Civic Goodness

A WORRIED OPTIMIST MAKES HER PLEA: WHY THESE MIDTERM ELECTIONS ARE DIFFERENT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvJSvBYcd_s As an optimist who worries a lot (a self-description I borrowed from the late, great Madeleine Albright), I am not happy about a few things occurring in this countdown to the critically important—likely democracy-at-stake—midterms. I am writing this post now because I believe that even if you’re apolitical and would rather be reading about … Continue reading A WORRIED OPTIMIST MAKES HER PLEA: WHY THESE MIDTERM ELECTIONS ARE DIFFERENT

Lizzo and the Magic Flute: Why This Story Matters…

Photo from the Library of Congress If you’re one of the handful of pop culture luddites like me who were unfamiliar with Lizzo, I offer a brief introduction. She’s a 34-year-old internationally renowned singer, songwriter, rapper, Grammy winner, and oh-by-the-way, classically trained flutist. She might also be called, and I don’t think she’d mind, a … Continue reading Lizzo and the Magic Flute: Why This Story Matters…

Joe Biden As Visionary: A Fairer, More Prosperous, Healthier America IS INDEED ON THE BALLOT!

Image courtesy of hsb wikimedia.org. I’ve been saying for some time that I believe history will be kinder to our maligned President than the voters seem to be. While Biden’s poll numbers are rising, they’re nowhere near where they should be based on his accomplishments to date. And those accomplishments are just a down payment … Continue reading Joe Biden As Visionary: A Fairer, More Prosperous, Healthier America IS INDEED ON THE BALLOT!

A WISE AND IMPORTANT TWITTER THREAD…

I, too, believe it is urgent that we who are the majority participate as never before—we must not be discouraged by reports suggesting our votes won't count! In Italy, the new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, is an admirer of Mussolini who heads a neo-fascist party. Her ascent is the result of an election with an … Continue reading A WISE AND IMPORTANT TWITTER THREAD…

SOME GOOD NEWS…

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com Some very positive events are occurring. I'm posting below the intro and conclusion from Robert Hubbell's Today's Edition newsletter, published September 22--an issue he titled: "A Good Day." ___________________         A half-dozen major stories broke on Wednesday. Together, they reinforce the rule of law and confirm the renewed strength … Continue reading SOME GOOD NEWS…

Why Do Voters Trust Republicans on the Economy More Than Democrats?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com “For all of the ‘pain at the pump’ stories, the answer is that wages and salaries have kept pace with inflation since Biden took office—and by this measure, most Americans are much better off than before the pandemic hit in 2020, and before he took office in 2021.” —Robert … Continue reading Why Do Voters Trust Republicans on the Economy More Than Democrats?

LET’S ALL MAKE SURE WE PROTECT DEMOCRACY ON NOVEMBER 8TH (My attempt to create a helpful candidates guide)

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com With the completion of the primaries on September 13 and the midterm elections less than two months away, it’s time to zero in on particular candidates who have been targeted by the Republicans, and/or those I feel are especially worthy of your votes, active support, and any dollars you … Continue reading LET’S ALL MAKE SURE WE PROTECT DEMOCRACY ON NOVEMBER 8TH (My attempt to create a helpful candidates guide)

The Trees Are Coming! The Trees Are Coming!

We'll soon get one of these beauties! (photo from township manager) When we bought our suburban home--lo, those many years ago--it was the trees that sealed the deal. The wonderful mighty oaks on both sides of the street stretched toward the middle, forming a leafy canopy elegant enough to welcome a royal procession. For a … Continue reading The Trees Are Coming! The Trees Are Coming!

From Obama to Trump: Dr. Jill Biden’s Remarks Got Me Thinking…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8oJ_-xvnDs Barack and Michelle Obama's return to the White House for the unveiling of their portraits was a joyous occasion. It was also evocative in any number of ways—most notably, a reminder of the importance of peaceful rituals involving the transfer of power. If you haven’t seen any of the coverage, I’ve included above the … Continue reading From Obama to Trump: Dr. Jill Biden’s Remarks Got Me Thinking…

Looking Toward “Roevember”

Photo [of Alaska] by Andrew Hanson on Pexels.com I’m trying not to get too giddy. We have a lot of hard work ahead to pull off democracy-saving Democratic wins in November—just a little over two months from now. When I wrote my post “Abortion Is Actually Going to Save Democracy,” I cited the work of … Continue reading Looking Toward “Roevember”

Why Did the Main Stream Media Tune Out the President’s Warning About Democracy?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wygovCnX8Uw President Biden made a bold and powerful speech in Philadelphia about the dangers our democracy faces due to Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. If you haven't seen it, you can watch it above (speech begins around 6.25, after music) and/or read it here. I think it must have taken a lot to get … Continue reading Why Did the Main Stream Media Tune Out the President’s Warning About Democracy?

When the “Green Revolution” Smacks Up Against the Green of Dollars…

Photo by Leonardo Lamas on Pexels.com A front-page story in The New York Times: “Secret Data, Tiny Islands and a Quest for Treasures on the Ocean Floor.” (Diligent Times readers are excused from finishing this post, though I’ve condensed a story that was more than twenty printed pages with photos into a much shorter piece!) … Continue reading When the “Green Revolution” Smacks Up Against the Green of Dollars…

“Abortion Is Actually Going to Save Democracy”

Photo by Emma Guliani on Pexels.com "Abortion is actually going to save Democracy." Those were the words of Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, announcing that her organization is donating more than $50 million to help elect pro-choice candidates in November. How far-fetched is Johnson’s assessment? Not nearly as far as it was before … Continue reading “Abortion Is Actually Going to Save Democracy”

Sex and Gender: Diversity in Chimps, Bonobos, and Us

Photo by Keith Lobo on Pexels.com Frans de Waal is a Dutch biologist and primatologist who thinks humans have some silly ideas/constructs about sex and gender. He’s written a number of books, most recently Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist. I heard him express his strong opinions on Alan Alda’s Clear and Vivid … Continue reading Sex and Gender: Diversity in Chimps, Bonobos, and Us

I Think We All Need This…

https://twitter.com/QueenLesli/status/1558125131540619269?s=20&t=Sab8VCm9uU9L1tTKzJLbIg We must hope the penguin's assistant is treating him/her well--and the proper conditions for penguin good health are just outside the camera's range (an ice bath, for sure). In my heart, I know this cutie shouldn't be in captivity. I've persuaded myself that the artiste is having lots of fun and will be just … Continue reading I Think We All Need This…

Who Could Take Down the Felon-in-Waiting? Librarians!

From an Occupied Democrats Facebook posting Stephen Colbert's wise and witty observation warms my heart. If the National Archives and Records Administration's informing the Justice Department about all those missing super-secret documents leads to the indictment and conviction of the former guy for violating the Espionage Act, among others, we'll be seeing Karma raised to … Continue reading Who Could Take Down the Felon-in-Waiting? Librarians!

Moms, Kids, and the Makeup of Congress

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com In this intolerable heat, I’ve been thinking a lot about poor single moms and their children. Lacking air conditioning, where do they go for relief? How do they manage? Last year, the Federal government gave tangible help to these families and others. One of the most enlightened, potentially most important … Continue reading Moms, Kids, and the Makeup of Congress

THANK YOU, KANSAS VOTERS!

In my recent post, I asked: “What’s the Matter in Kansas?” Republican politicians were deliberately trying to confuse voters into passing a constitutional amendment that would enable them to overturn a Supreme Court ruling protecting abortion. Last night we learned that Kansas voters, by a VERY large margin, said NO WAY! Republicans, unaffiliated voters, and … Continue reading THANK YOU, KANSAS VOTERS!

A Russia Expert on Ukraine: WE MUST NOT BUY INTO PUTIN’S NARRATIVE

Photo by Mathias Reding on Pexels.com The horrors that Putin is wreaking on the Ukrainian people are increasing, but this news is no longer at the forefront. Though the fading attention is understandable and probably inevitable, it’s just what Putin is counting on. He is playing the long game, figuring that once the forbidding winter … Continue reading A Russia Expert on Ukraine: WE MUST NOT BUY INTO PUTIN’S NARRATIVE

HE MADE IT ALL HAPPEN! A Post-(Eighth)January 6th Hearing Acrostic

H ere, for the world to see, is theE vidence that removes all doubt: The M AGA-LOW-man-baby satA nd watched his worst-laid plan againstD emocracy sputter and wither while heE njoyed chaos by the cruel/clueless. I t’s not enough to say “He did nothingT o stop them”—he did A ll he could to pump them … Continue reading HE MADE IT ALL HAPPEN! A Post-(Eighth)January 6th Hearing Acrostic

What’s the Matter in Kansas? Abortion Law Trickery Likely to Spread

Photo by Kelly on Pexels.com I noted in my post “How to Be a Part of the Solution” that an organization I work with, PostCardsToVoters, is seeking to inform Kansas voters about the intricacies of a proposed state constitutional amendment on abortion. Significantly, this amendment would reverse the state Supreme Court’s 2019 ruling that the … Continue reading What’s the Matter in Kansas? Abortion Law Trickery Likely to Spread

“Bright April” and the Librarian of Congress–and All We Must Protect

This is a story about a young girl who saw herself in a picture book for the first time—and went on to great prominence in our nation. It’s a story of the power of books, libraries, and librarians—and, by extension, the perverse acknowledgment of that power in the attempts to block it by a growing … Continue reading “Bright April” and the Librarian of Congress–and All We Must Protect

How to Be a Part of the Solution

If you're feeling upset and frustrated about events you feel you can't control, consider how you might volunteer to effect change. And please don't tell me "I voted in 2020 and nothing's perfect." Democracy is worth the sustained effort to move it forward. This is a critically important election.

Where the Present and History Collide…

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org What a sad, sad coincidence. Yesterday, The New York Times ran a front-page piece claiming that “Democrats Have Soured on Biden.” They cited a poll finding loss of confidence in the President across all age and ethnic groups. The primary reason for overall pessimism? Widespread concerns about the economy and inflation. … Continue reading Where the Present and History Collide…

A Couple of Garden Haikus

One feathery… Resplendent CardinalStraddles bough with familyFeeds babe, Mom looks on. Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com (I wish you could have seen Mom; she looked around as if to say, "As soon as this is done, I'm outta here.") The other furry… Brown rabbit pausesWhite-footed gray cat snoozesShared spot, different days. Photo by Steffi … Continue reading A Couple of Garden Haikus

This Radical Supreme Court Majority Is Killing US: A Call to Action

I've been working on this post on and off for weeks, trying to decide if advocating for court reform sounds too pie-in-the-sky. Since the overturn of Roe, which for the first time ever removed a Constitutionally protected right from Americans—with promises of more such decimation of established rights to follow—I’ve been eager to complete it. This week, the radical court majority’s beyond the beyond rulings moved my thinking from “too pie-in-the-sky” to “Do or die.”

“Something Is Not Right Around the Court…”: Reblogging a 2020 Post

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.

Gun Safety: Small Step Forward; Big Step Back, But We Made a Difference!

The Supreme Court majority has just struck down a very sensible gun safety law--just as the often calcified Senate toddled toward a modest, though significant, breakthrough. Undeterred by my lack of legal credentials, I'm gonna venture that the American people had a say in both developments. Please bear with me...

This Stalwart Republican’s Words, “Chiseled in Stone,” May Help Save Our Democracy

When retired Appellate Court Judge J. Michael Luttig began his slow, laborious statement as a witness at the January 6 Committee hearings, I worried he’d lose half the viewing/listening audience. I could picture the outwardly composed committee members passing frantic messages back and forth, trying to figure out how to handle this important witness. Judge … Continue reading This Stalwart Republican’s Words, “Chiseled in Stone,” May Help Save Our Democracy

We’ve All Just Gotta Hang In There…

In my severely dog-deprived state,First thoughts of that photo, I’ll relate,Were that I’d dognap her right away--And also double her doggie pay! But broadly thinking about these timesThat try our souls, I reach for rhymes.The furry gymnast now says, with care,“We’ve all just gotta hang in there!” Please let your imagination roamIn responding to this … Continue reading We’ve All Just Gotta Hang In There…

We Will Hear About “The Unthinkable” in Just Two Days

If anyone reading this post has not been planning to watch the January 6 Committee hearings--or listen to them--I urge you to do so. If you’re not available, tape the sessions for later viewing. Even if you’ve turned off politics, it’s imperative that you inform yourself now—for the good of us all.

The President’s Fury

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GPtFM3KiYU While waiting for President Biden to make his suddenly scheduled address on gun violence last night, several somewhat sympathetic “talking heads” discussed what we could expect from his speech. They concluded he’d have to be very careful, appealing to those ten elusive Republicans whose votes are essential if we are to see anything—anything at … Continue reading The President’s Fury

Some Wisdom About Gun Policy–and Everything Else

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com “All healthy societies are ready to sacrifice the existential moment for their children’s future and for children after those. The sense of the future is behind all good policies. Unless we have it, we can give nothing either wise or decent to the world.” —quotation attributed to CP Snow … Continue reading Some Wisdom About Gun Policy–and Everything Else

An Alternative Replacement Theory…

From a 2019 series of tweets Did you know that "they" are paying their life savings to smugglers, traveling long distances under dangerous and horrific conditions, risking deportation when they reach the US—all because they are so desperate to cast a fraudulent vote? This is the newest Republican 100% false scare tactic to persuade Americans … Continue reading An Alternative Replacement Theory…

Whoa! What’s Going On Here?

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?

On the Economy, Biden Wins!

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!

What a “Weird Moment” We’re In…

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…

A Great American’s Final Warning to Us

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

Team Magpie Wins Round One

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

Should the US Provide Frozen Russian Assets to Ukraine?

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?

A Slice of Wonder in a Trembling World

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

A Few Truly Special Jackie Robinson Stories

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

Fame and Adversity, Love and Grace

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

“Free Speech Under Attack”: The House Spotlights Book Banning and Academic Censorship

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.

A Teaching Justice: Why America Needs Judge Jackson Now!

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!

The Transfer of Power: Abe Lincoln and January 6th

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

The Senate Astonishes: Votes Unanimously…and Gets Things Exquisitely Wrong…

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 One Mo’ Time…I Seek Refuge in Rhyme

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

The Heroic Zelensky in Happier Times

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

Bearing Witness, Asking for More…

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…

AG Garland and That Pesky Matter…

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…

Our Cyborgian Future

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

The Historian and the President–Please Read and Watch…

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…

The Wind and March, 2022 (With Apologies to the Literary Giants)

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)

“Legitimate Political Discourse”?? –A Befuddled Acrostic

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

There’s a Guy Climbing Over My Neighbors’ Fence…

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…

Worried About Inflation? Here’s How the Republicans Are Fighting It…

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…

News About Climate Change–Some Good, Some Bad–Courtesy of Lizards…

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.”

“We the Students” Want to Read Banned Books!

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!

Buzz Saw Ambivalence

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.

I Choose Hope for America

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

A Millipede Has How Many Legs? (Caution: Trick Question)

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.

Presenting the First Thanksgiving as Seen by Native Americans

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.

An Acrostic for Love and Luck, Plus World Children’s Day

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

WE WUZ HACKED!

--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?

President Biden as Dynamo (!)

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.

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...