In Memory Of Former Senator Tom Coburn, A Dangerous Politician

There is no need to hide the truth, even with news that Tom Coburn the ultraconservative Oklahoma Republican who frustrated legislators called “Dr. No,” died today.  He was 72.  The cause was cancer.

Coburn was the topic many times on this blog, and there is no smoothing over the fact he was a dangerous politician.  This is what I wrote in September 2013.

Yesterday I correctly likened House Republicans to terrorists.

Today I read in The New York Times a quote from Republican United States Senator Tom Coburn that underlines my point.

“The only time you shut down the government is when you shut it down and refuse to open it until you accomplish what you want. But we’ll fold like hotcakes. … You do not take a hostage you are not going to for sure shoot. And we will not for sure shoot this hostage.”

I grew up in the tumult of Watergate where the constitutional crisis was a daily news report.  Since becoming an adult, and for decades a Nixon-history-buff I have read countless stories and accounts of the dealings and machinations from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue as events of those years unfolded.  But throughout the entire ordeal, be it President Nixon or Congress, everyone could see (or claim to see) the damage that Watergate was doing to the nation.

The president knew that his grand designs for international affairs were dead in the water.  He knew his domestic agenda was stymied as long as the affair dominated news coverage.  Congress felt that the constitution needed to be upheld with an orderly process allowed to play out to show the American people the legal implications to the actions taken by the Administration.

The bottom line was everyone was working in their own way for the American people.  History might judge we need to stretch a bit to see how ‘everyone’ could make that claim, but there are enough accounts with primary sources to make my point.

But now in Washington with the rash and just plain spiteful conservatives, we have language that is being used, and tactics are undertaken that make Watergate seem tame.  There is no evidence from House Republicans that the best interests of the nation were anywhere near the top of the pile for reasons they are playing Russian roulette with the national government.  The mean-spirited game of partisan politics from conservatives, along with racial politics has always been a part of this equation.  I have long felt the racial component for conservatives when it comes to President Obama is more important than the desire to make government function for the people.

There is no way that some in this nation will allow for a black President to succeed.  That is at the root of many of the most bizarre antics that have played out over the past couple of years,  and what is at the heart of the latest example of bat-crap-crazy coming from Ted Cruz and House Republicans.  Doing everything they can to delegitimize President Obama is not because they have such disdain for his policies, but that he is a black man that not only won the American vote once but twice.

When we have a U.S. Senator use language only in jest of taking a hostage and shooting a hostage as part of a public statement makes me aware that much has changed since Nixon stonewalled in giving information to congress.

This is a sad chapter that is now playing out in Washington as we hurdle from a self-created crisis to the next.

Nixon must be looking down (or up) and just shaking his head.

After all, even with all his flaws, he was always thinking about how to move this nation forward.

Listen And See (Tonight) 4,917th Consecutive Show From Nashville….Grand Ole Opry!

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With COVID-19 shutting down basically everything nationwide of an entertainment variety, I want to alert my readers that a 90-year plus American institution is alive and well, and will not go dark.

The Grand Ole Opry will broadcast around the world for its 4,917th consecutive Saturday night. Here are 2 ways  to enjoy the show!

To watch the show, tune your TV to the Circle channel. Find your local Circle broadcast station. You can also watch the live stream on the Circle website.

Or tune in to The Air Castle Of The South, WSM Radio! 

Look Skyward For Something Unrelated To COVID-19

I feel compelled to start posting, at least every couple of days, news and thoughts about aspects of our lives not related to COVID-19.  There is no way to avoid the fact we are living history, nor deny the seriousness of this pandemic.  But it also goes without saying we need a place for our mind to wander for relaxation from the harshness of the world outside our doors.

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Tonight, Venus, the crescent Moon and the Pleiades will form a beautiful triangle in the western sunset sky. The event kicks off a slow-motion conjunction between Venus and the Pleiades that will grow even more beautiful in the nights ahead.

When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. There’s a heavenly triangle in the sunset sky. The vertices are Venus, the crescent Moon and the Pleiades. Venus and the Moon pop out of the twilight first, followed by the Seven Sisters as the sky fades to black. Ruslan Merzlyakov photographed the convergence last night from Nykøbing Mors, Denmark.

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Editorial Cartoons Of COVID-19

The perfection of tone and substance of some of the editorial cartoons over the past week can not be denied.

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Ex-Mayor John Dickert Should Have Pulled His Punches

I was quite surprised to have read this new story in Friday’s Wisconsin State Journal. 

Not because I knew former Racine mayor John Dickert when he was a staffer at the statehouse, but because he is my age and should never have allowed himself to be lulled into a stupid act—especially with an 18-year old punk.

Nothing good ever comes from fighting, and particularly when the matter involves road rage.  Dickert knows that the best course is always by taking the high road, and with proven diplomatic and political skills he was more than able to totally pass this teenage pest.  To have fallen to the desires of the teenage goofball, and fight in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot is bad form.

Charges are pending against former Racine Mayor John Dickert after he was allegedly involved in a fight in a local grocery’s store parking lot after a road rage incident.

At 4:06 p.m. Sunday, the Mount Pleasant Police Department responded to Piggly Wiggly, 5201 Washington Ave., after receiving 911 calls about a fight in the grocery store parking lot. Witnesses reported seeing two people punching each other.  

The two suspects involved in the fight were identified as former Racine Mayor John Dickert, 57, and 18-year-old Christian Reynoso, both of Racine, the Mount Pleasant Police Department confirmed.

Dickert was elected as Racine’s mayor in 2009 in a special election, and re-elected in 2011 and 2015. He resigned in 2017.

Investigation into the incident revealed that Dickert and Reynoso had reportedly been driving in separate vehicles on Highway 20/Washington Avenue. After a road rage incident between the two, both of the vehicles pulled into the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

Shortly after, Dickert and Reynoso reportedly got out of their vehicles and started fighting each other.

Both Dickert and Reynoso were injured in the fight. The South Shore Fire Department responded to provide treatment; however, no one was transported to the hospital. 

Angry White Male Nationalist Killed By FBI, Planned To Blow Up Hospital Near Kansas City

As if there is not enough angst and dismay in our nation comes news of another angry caucasian who could not muster the will to live his life in accordance with social norms. Very proud of the actions taken by the FBI.  Once again, law enforcement deserves all of our praise.

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  • Timothy Wilson, 36, was shot and killed by the FBI after he plotted to blow up a hospital in near Kansas City
  • The FBI learn about the plot from Jarrett William Smith, a white supremacist who was an active duty member of the U.S. Army 
  • Smith was arrested in 2019 when he ‘distributed information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction,’ the FBI says 
  • The FBI targeted Wilson who they say was a potentially violent extremist whose hatred was fueled by religion, racial animosity, and government distrust
  • The FBI attempted to serve Wilson with a warrant as he was picking up what he believed to be a truck bomb but actually wasn’t
  • Wilson was motived by religion, racial animosity, and distrust of the government, according to the FBI 
  • Wilson wanted to inflict ‘severe harm and mass casualties’, according to the FBI
  • Wilson was linked to the neo-Nazi groups National Socialist Movement (NSM) and Vorherrschaft Division (VSD) 
  • On the social media site Telegram, he wrote  that coronavirus was an ‘excuse to destroy our people’ 
  • He added, ‘Mark my words it’s coming I hope people are ready’ 
  • Wilson’s wife had also filed divorce from him in 2019  

Madison Schools Put Lunacy, During Pandemic, Into Writing!

The most outlandish news story of the day comes from the Human Resources Department of Madison Public Schools.

The district sent a message to staff Thursday saying the expectation is for teachers with children at home to find a child care solution — either outside of or inside home — during the hours they work remotely.

“You cannot watch your children and work at the same time,” a message from the district’s Human Resources Department said.

What complete idiot thought up this ridiculous notion, then wrote it up?  Better yet, which higher-up then authorized such lunacy to be made public?  I see a place to thin the herd within the administration and save a few dollars.  Talk about raving BS from Madison schools!

Andy Waity, president of MTI, said in an email Friday the union sent a message to the district to reconsider its position as soon as possible.

“There is no childcare available for staff. It has been challenging for our community to find childcare for even essential services personnel,” MTI’s message said. “If the District intends to proceed with remote learning in the midst of a public health pandemic, the District needs to find a way for employees to do so while they manage their childcare, family responsibilities, and a public health pandemic.”

I know a state worker with twin boys working from home, as the boys learn and play.  Now there is a demand Madison teachers must secure child care while they teach in a virtual classroom during this time of crisis!

I would be telling the HR Dept to well…you know.   And in case no one has been in a classroom as of late, teachers are masters of multi-tasking!

You Do Not See This Everyday In The Newspaper

Rarely do you see the following in a newspaper, and yes this is one of those nerdy posts. This is what happens when self-distancing allows more time to ponder almost everything.

This morning in The Wall Street Journal the graph, and therefore part of the top-of-the-fold story, was also part of the banner of the paper.  As a newspaper junkie, it just made me smile and reflect on how much of the paper layout is standardized so that when changes occur they are noticed.

The point also cannot be lost on the gravity of the story being such that it’s historic nature allowed for it to land into the banner of the paper.

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