Sandy Hook revisited …

Five years ago, people, five years!

Thank you President Trump for honoring the memory of those slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School five years ago today.

Thank you Mitch McConnell for giving voice to the anguish we feel today. Thank you Paul Ryan for reminding us how much better we can do as a nation.

Oh, wait, I need to apologize.

President Trump had nothing to say today, at least nothing to say about Sandy Hook. Neither did Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan or most of the rest of the Washington politicians.

Their thoughts and prayers were elsewhere, at least the President’s were elsewhere in one of those endless tweets he graces us with every morning.

“Republican Tax Cuts are looking very good. All are working hard. In the meantime, the Stock Market hit another record high!”

Well, then, never mind. Let’s just take a moment to consider who we lost five years ago today and then ask ourselves why nothing has happened.

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel D’Avino (Therapist), 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung (Principal), 47
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy (Teacher), 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau (Teacher), 30
Mary Sherlach (Psychologist), 56
Victoria Soto (Teacher), 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

Five years ago, people, five years! And what we have to show for it is the stock market hitting a record high!

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Praise the Lord …

And hopefully next year as well ...

By the slimmest of margins a plurality of voters in Alabama seem to have decided that being a Democrat is marginally better than being a bigoted, creepy, hypocrite who likes dating and molesting fourteen year old girls, among others.

Congratulations Alabama!

Weekly Cartoon …

empty chairs or empty head?

Jack Ohman, the author of the above cartoon (more of whose work can be found here), probably never intended it as such, but I think it’s the perfect commentary on Donald Trump’s announcement this week that he recognizes Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and plans to move the U.S. embassy there.

Some have tried to spin the announcement as an effort by Trump to jump-start peace talks between the two sides, but that’s a rather bizarre interpretation in my opinion. How does giving away one of the only cards you hold with the Israeli government do that?

And coming a few days after endorsing three anti-Muslim videos posted to the Internet by a fringe group of Western racists, an action that drew the immediate condemnation of the British Prime Minister? And while he was also defending his anti-Muslim travel ban before the Supreme Court?

As one observer noted: “In our wired world, these insults were quickly known to every Palestinian in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip … to every intellectual and political leader in Egypt and Jordan and Lebanon — indeed, the whole Arab world …. Trump’s insults were known among supporters of the Palestinian cause around the Mediterranean, in Europe, in North America, in Asia. Does Trump think they will ignore his opportunistic hate-mongering? Laugh it off?”

No, as with most things Trump, that announcement had nothing at all to do with substance. Trump doesn’t do substance. It was about pleasing rich and powerful donors like Sheldon Adelson and Trump’s supporters in the evangelical Christian and Jewish communities.

That and giving the middle finger to the American foreign policy establishment who rightly despise the man for the damage he does to U.S. credibility abroad every day. Most of all, it had nothing to do with promoting peace in the region or American interests. Trump doesn’t have have a clue about either of those things.

I’m sure Trump feels proud of himself for all the attention he grabbed, but he just made every American who travels to the region a target and more so than they already are. But what else would you expect from a man who has nothing but contempt for those who are poor, stateless and non-white?

Oh, and one other thing; did you happen to notice the stampede of Washington Democrats rushing to condemn the announcement? Chuck Schumer perhaps? Didn’t think so. There’s a reason for that.

Our runner-up for the week puts an issue of interest to the gay community in the right perspective. That the Supreme Court is even considering the case is beyond belief. That it may well find a way to overturn long-standing legal precedent to put gay people in their place even less so.

In any event, we’ll find out sometime around the middle of the next year what the Justices really think.

Weekly Cartoon …

December 5, 2017 Update

For all you Blake Farenthold fans out there, here’s an interesting update you might find informative.

The woman who won the financial settlement against him for sexual harassment, the settlement YOUR taxpayer dollars were used to pay, apparently saw her career and future in politics implode after it became known she had filed the complaint against Blake.

Since the summer of 2014, when she says Farenthold fired her for raising concerns about a hostile work environment, [Lauren] Greene has been unable to land a full-time job. She’s making $15 an hour working temporary gigs for a homebuilder. She baby-sits on the side to earn extra cash.

Her family has had to support her financially. And Greene, now 30, has left D.C., with no illusions that she will ever work in politics again.

You can read more about what happens when you stand up to dudes like Blake here. It’s not just the taxpayers that end up getting screwed. The woman who told the truth gets screwed while Blake continues to serve in Congress and no one calls for his resignation.

Sweet, Blake, sweet!

December 3, 2017 Original Post

THE NATIONAL debt is $20 trillion and rising. That is the highest it has been as
a slice of the economy since 1950. Now the Senate has approved a tax plan that would make the problem substantially worse while widening inequality and reducing access to health-care coverage. The current generation will pay. The next will pay more.
Read the entire editorial here.

That cartoon above from Tom Toles seemed appropriate with Senate Republicans now having passed their tax cut proposal.

No one had an opportunity to read the Senate bill before it passed, of course, so God only knows what the final legislation will look like. The House and Senate will have to reconcile their differences, but will likely do so quickly and provide even less time to consider whatever they agree on.

Personally I’m keeping my sights aimed low, but I’m a confirmed pessimist when it comes to Congress these days and not the only one. So who knows? Maybe the final bill will force Representative Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) to repay the $84,000 in taxpayer dollars he used to settle a sexual harassment complaint against him by his former communications director.

What? You thought Congress would actually make one of their members pay for stuff like that out of their own pocket, not from your tax dollars? Oh my, my, my! Congressional Republicans have nothing but contempt for you, foolish child. Of course it was only $84,000 and what’s $84,000 compared to a trillion or more in added debt from the GOP tax cut proposals after all?

All kidding aside, though, Blake is an interesting dude. He’s still another one of those wonderful gifts Texas has bequeathed the nation. And he’s actually quite a swinger as you can see from this picture of him taken with a lingerie model back in 2010.

Blake also once tweeted something all of us have wondered about: “Why do terrorists hate airplanes? Why not drivers licenses offices or the IRS?”

Our runner-up for the week is a nice take down of a sewer rat who has plagued our political system for several years now. How anyone can support someone like this is hard to believe, but it’s nice to see the man exposed for the fraud he is.

Of course, being a fraud is no big deal for members of Congress. You’ll still be able to make a tax deductible charitable contribution to Project Veritas because that’s not one of the things either House or Senate Republicans were interested in reforming as part of their tax bills.

World AIDS Day …

The Trump administration is proposing a reduction in funding and a shift in strategy in the fight against global AIDS that together would increase infections, cost lives and threaten the extraordinary progress of the past 15 years.

That’s not me talking. That’s Michael Gerson, a conservative who writes for the Washington Post, and you can read more of his article here if you’re interested in understanding just what Trump is doing to unravel the progress the world has made in recent years.

I encourage you to do so because today is World AIDS Day, but you would hardly know it if you looked to the White House for leadership on the global pandemic that still confronts us.

Unlike tax cuts for the rich, the powerful, and himself, AIDS is an issue Trump could care less about. So it’s that much more important for the rest of us to remind ourselves that the struggle against HIV and AIDS is far from over.

Weekly Toon …

Still another Republican sell out of ordinary consumers ...

On Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai officially put the federal government’s net neutrality rules on the fast track for extinction. If the move goes through as expected, that means that by the end of January, internet providers like Comcast and Verizon will be allowed to charge websites to reach users at faster speeds, essentially slowing down access to websites that can’t afford those fast-lane prices—a tiered internet that the current rules preclude.

You can read the entire article here. And in case you’re wondering, my websites will not be among those that can afford fast-lane pricing.

Not many cartoonists are commenting on this latest effort to kill off net neutrality so the one above by Pat Bagley will have to do for now. You can view more of his toons here.

I realize that net neutrality is not the sexiest issue in the world, but it’s one that will profoundly affect most people once it is gone. And it’s still another example of how Republicans are willing to sell out ordinary consumers in order to benefit rich and powerful corporations like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon in order to curry favor and campaign contributions.

And speaking of Republican efforts to raid your wallet, check out our runner-up for the week. It’s one of those two for the price of one cartoons I love so much.

Happy Thanksgiving …

I wish I could cook this good :-)

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating the day here in the United States. Enjoy your meal and the company of family, friends and loved ones.That’s my plan for the day.

And if you happen to be far from home or do not celebrate this uniquely American holiday (with apologies to my Canadian friends who celebrate it in October), take a few moments to recall everything you have to be thankful for.

Looking for something to do other than getting an early start on your Black Friday shopping? Here’s a suggestion that beats fighting the crowds.