What Were Right-Wingers Saying While You Barbequed This Weekend?

While many of us stepped back from our computers and gadgets to be outside for walks and barbeques there was a steady litany of truly incredible statements coming from the right-wing in our nation. Some were callous and cold. Some were just pathetic and sad. Some were so ludicrous they created laughter. Others can only be labeled as dangerous.

I will let my readers make their own call as to which of the following earn one of the depictions above.

Congressman Mo Brooks told Fox News that he is opposed to any new restrictions on guns — even regarding military-style assault weapons — because we need them to “take back” our government. That strongly implies that an armed insurrection is to come, with the one at the nation’s capitol being a dress rehearsal.

As has been noted on Twitter Brooks exploded at the Fox News host when she insisted there was no evidence that the 2020 election was rigged.

Conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell was one of the early supporters of Donald Trump’s autocratic efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Now, she is making news again.

“Working with a well-funded network of organizations on the right, including the Republican National Committee, she is recruiting election conspiracists into an organized cavalry of activists monitoring elections,” NYT’s Alexandra Berzon writes . “In seminars around the country, Ms. Mitchell is marshaling volunteers to stake out election offices, file information requests, monitor voting, work at polling places and keep detailed records of their work.”

Meanwhile, Trump continues to attack the integrity of our political, electoral, and Constitutional process of electing a new president.

Donald Trump called the insurrection on January 6, 2021, a hoax, The Guardian reports.

Said Trump: “As one of the nation’s leading proponents of the insurrection hoax, Liz Cheney has pushed a grotesquely false, fabricated, hysterical partisan narrative.”

Trump lumbered up on stage this weekend in Wyoming–many new outlets lately have commented on his weight gain since losing the White House. At some point, he will need to use a golf cart to get to the podium.

Saturday, Trump found his new personal low moment targeting marginalized groups for ridicule in a long meandering series of tirades.

Politico reported the following.

“No teacher should ever be allowed to teach transgender to our children without parental consent,” he said, just as some of the MAGA faithful started to trickle out. “Can you imagine?”

On the perimeter of the arena, some attendees headed for their cars stopped and began listening again on an outside monitor. Trump briefly got distracted when he caught a glimpse of himself on a video screen and noticed his hair was thinning in the back.

But he then returned to the subject.

“We will save our kids and we will also keep men the hell out of women’s sports. Is that OK?” he said, using what’s become a common GOP refrain. He continued with an animated tale about a female swimmer about to start a race who turned and noticed a new opponent, a “huge person who was a guy recently.”

He continued. He said the trans woman set a new record that would stand until “some guy comes along and breaks it again.” He pantomimed his way through a story mocking trans women in weightlifting competitions. He imagined himself as a women’s basketball team coach recruiting players, such as LEBRON JAMES: “Did you ever have any thoughts, LeBron, about one day becoming a woman?”

It was disgusting but typical in both what he does in front of people, and how his base, with their laughter and approval, are equally unhinged.

When it came to saying the craziest things before a microphone a contest seemingly developed between two Republican Senate candidates.

Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker offered a bizarre proposal on surveilling social media to prevent mass shootings.

“what about getting a department that can look at young men that’s looking at women, that’s looking at their social media? What about doing that, looking into things like that, and we can stop that that way?”

Not to be outdone for lunacy an interview from 2021 has surfaced where Ohio Senate nominee J. D. Vance said pornography should be banned because it’s stopping Americans from getting married and starting families.

“I think the combination of porn, abortion have basically created a lonely, isolated generation that isn’t getting married, they’re not having families, and they’re actually not even totally sure how to interact with each other,” Vance said in a newly unearthed interview with Crisis Magazine from August 2021.

But I save the most soulless story for the conclusion of this post.

“Gov. Greg Abbott said that the Uvalde school shooter had a ‘mental health challenge’ and the state needed to “do a better job with mental health” — yet in April he slashed $211 million from the department that oversees mental health programs,” NBC News reports.

“In addition, Texas ranked last out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall access to mental health care.”

It is clear that while most Americans were cooking their meat on the grill too many right-wingers were just going off ‘half-baked’.

All Fun And Games Until Coffee Maker Gives Up The Ghost

Two weeks ago I read on Facebook about a woman from my hometown of Hancock that wondered if anyone had a coffee maker she could use until another could be bought. Her machine had passed over into the place used grounds go, and was thinking about where to get the next cup.

It truly made an impression on me when a woman in the village offered to bring her a cup on the way when the kids were taken to school. Another offered, in light of COVID still being a real concern, to bring her morning coffee and just leave it on the back table. No contact delivery! Small towns are known for that type of living and caring.

That post came to mind this morning as I went about my routine of turning on the coffee maker and then going about our home opening curtains and shades. I picked up the morning newspaper from the front stoop and pulled a mug from the kitchen cabinet. It was then I noticed there was no aroma of coffee to welcome me to another day. Instead, I was greeted with an error message on the machine which when translated from Google into frustrated caffeine-deprived lingo equaled ‘buy a new machine’.

James gave me a Burr coffee grinder for Christmas, with this photo from January 1st also showing the famous Yankee bean pot used back home in Maine. Also pictured is the recently departed.

While hot water was boiling for my French press, I needed to again be mindful of what a coffee expert suggested.

I then pulled up my favorite business in the entire world, Amazon, and started to pursue new coffee makers. Once the boiling water was added to the freshly ground magic from last night, I asked Siri to set a 4-minute alarm. Just as the alert was audible I noticed smoke was being strongly smelled in our office.

While I was in the throes of a coffee crisis James’ spring-form pan for his homemade lemon-vanilla and blackberry cheesecake with a ground pecan and molasses crust had a small drip, drip, drip onto the hot oven. Smoke was created of the type one might expect prior to a singer stepping through it to wow an audience in a stage production. With swift moves, the oven was wiped clean and a ‘hot-water bath’ style of baking his creation was found.

It was then I read an email from a man who was to install our outside french doors Tuesday morning, alerting me to a forecast calling for rain. The project, understandably, was delayed for later in the week.

This all occurred before even the first sip of morning coffee. Well, it is Monday, even if a Holiday.

The serendipity part of this story is this long weekend I am reading The Coffee Trader by David Liss. This author writes his remarkable stories with equal intensity with both history and finance. I am enthralled with his abilities with storytelling.

Amsterdam in the 1690s – a boom town with Europe’s biggest stock exchange and traders who will stop at nothing to get even richer. Lienzo, a Portugese Jew, stumbles across a new commodity – coffee – which, if he plays his cards right, will make him the richest man in Holland. But others stand in his way – rival traders who do all in their power to confuse the exchange and scupper his plans, his brother who is jealous of his financial wizardry and even his brother’s beautiful wife who both tempts and spurns him in equal measure.

I have seven chapters left in the book and if my Adirondack chair does not fall apart as I sit down, or a large branch of a tree let go over my head, or an errant neighborhood frisbee smacks me in the head the rest of the day looks better.

I can say that now since I have finished my first cup of java!

More Editorial Cartoons Perfectly Toned About Mass Shooting In Texas School

These political cartoons found on the editorial pages of newspapers across the United States perfectly match the message and the mood of America.

Letter From Home: “Boy From Iceland Brings Needed Smile” 5/25/22

James and I had just pulled into our drive. Returning from an unexpected visit to a local hospital so to visit for the final time with a friend of 20 years was emotionally heavy. The lilacs near our home seemed to feel the mood of the day as the rain made them droop and sag. They are loaded this year with blooms, and being so densely packed makes them hang even lower today.

With the weight of headlines waking us this morning with photos of the 19 boys and girls shot to death in a Texas school my mood was already somber. Then a call alerting us to the placement of our friend on hospice forced our day into higher gear for what we knew needed to be done this afternoon. A visit to a hospital.

The lady we visited loved Elvis’ singing. I joked with her that if the music was not soon located and turned on in the room I could sing, but someone would need to move the chairs back as it takes room to swivel the hips. She smiled weakly, and I considered that a victory.

So as we arrived back home I felt sluggish, having only operated on one cup of coffee all day. As I turned up the sidewalk to our front door, I saw a blond-haired boy on a scooter, that seems to be the latest rage for boys about age 10.

A woman was with him and they were looking up into the tree and so I asked “What are you looking at?”

“Just wondering what bird is making those sounds,” the woman said.

“Cardinals”, I replied. “Hear the call and response?”, I added.

She remarked on the many birds to be sighted, and I told her of the catbirds and orioles that are also nesting in the area. But it was not until I spoke of eagles that fly low near the shore of Lake Monona that the boy looked more intently in my direction and then pushing one foot on his scooter made his way across the street, his mom at his side.

“They have huge wings,” he said and smiled at the idea. He had been reading lately about those birds of prey. We talked back and forth about their nests being up to the size of a mattress. It was agreed that sharing such a mattress was not a great idea.

His mom said they were visiting from Iceland, and the lad was homeschooled. His attentive eyes and kind smile made for an odd juxtaposition with the faces on the news from Texas I had looked at hours prior. In a convoluted fashion, so to address the issue without using any language that would be alarming for the boy, I asked her about how news coverage there would deal with the headlines of our country.

“Matter of factly, not sensationalized, but also with the question as to how this is allowed to continue,” she said.

She had grown up in Wisconsin but said very plainly that she would not allow her child to attend an American school at this time. “Just look at the statistics from the past 20 years”, she stated.

Had that kid not been looking up into the tree I would not have lobbed an inquiry across the street. Had he not found an interest in eagles from his reading he might not have pushed himself over to say hello on his scooter.

His mom said such conversations with strangers are not common on streets in Iceland, first often due to the weather, but the stoic nature of the residents makes for such interactions to be few and far between. I told her on snowy days with bitter winds while shoveling I still chat it up with anyone who comes along our way.

“I offer to let them shovel, but they all seem to have read Tom Sawyer”, I quipped.

She smiled, but Mark Twain had not yet left an impression on the boy.

As the rain picked up and we started to head in opposite directions I wished them well and pointed at the boy and said, “Thanks for being you.”

His youthful glee over the birds of the area, his smile, and his willingness to engage with the world was the mood lifter this day needed.

This type of interaction, off-the-cuff, so effortless, and free, is one of the themes of my latest book which is scheduled to be published by August. The tonic for the soul is often these very types of human connections. The book has been my focus since November, with the editing phase now underway.

Texas Mass Shooting With Editorial Cartoons

Nothing can put forth a message like a well-crafted editorial cartoon. Here, then, are some of the ones regarding the Texas massacre of 19 school children and two adults that made an impression at this blogging desk.

Front Page Of Texas Newspapers Tell Story Of National Gun Crisis, 21 Dead From Assualt Weapon

It was Tuesday in America. More gun violence. Another mass shooting.

The result of allowing this continuing assault on our children, our communities, our common sense, and our decency is now defining who we are as a nation, and a people.

The mass shootings and use of weapons designed for military purposes must be addressed in our nation. These assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines being allowed for purchase are pathetic and very much earn us the ridicule from nations around the world who have passed gun control laws so to protect their societies from what we glibly call ‘our right’.

Last night, we turned into the Late Show with Stephen Colbert as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was a guest. The tragic alignment of events in Uvalde and her appearance on the show made for a meaningful conversation to watch.

On the program, she talked about her country instituting strict gun-control laws and a gun-buyback plan in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. It was a far-right extremist who killed 51 people which alerted the nation that something was required for the safety of their society. It needs to be noted that in just weeks the nation passed a bill, with only one lawmaker out of 120 opposing, that has–and the data proves the point–curbed gun violence in the nation.

New Zealand’s elected officials did not ask any NRA goonish type organization how to proceed, or what they might do to deflect their national conversation away from the gun issue that stared them in the face. They did not whimper and kneel to gun makers and their lobbyists.

Gosh, the elected officials found their role as leaders to be paramount, and then acted.

So, it can be done.

That we do not act is shameful. The world knows that, too.

Gunmakers, NRA, Unconscionable Clowns Within GOP Need To Be Held Accountable For 19 Dead School Children

We drove back into our driveway at about 8 P.M Tuesday evening. James took some food we picked up at a local restaurant into our home and I made my way to the front of the house. Our American flag was flying at full staff and so I took it all the way down, as is proper at such times, and then brought it back up to half-staff.

Once again, our nation is forced to reckon with yet one more dastardly mass shooting. Nineteen children were blown to pieces (as of this posting), along with a school teacher because our nation has knelt down to the gun lobby, NRA, and the most unconscionable clowns who reside below the curbside within the Republican Party.

We had been out for a long afternoon drive and outing celebrating our 22nd anniversary as a couple. Sirius radio from the 50s and 60s played throughout the day, and we dodged most of the sprinkles. Life was good.

In Middleton, I had switched to AM 780, WBBM Newsradio from Chicago, thinking some early primary election returns would be reported. Instead, President Biden was speaking. Before he had finished no more than a few words, and with only the gravity of his tone to alert me, made me reach my hand out and grab James’ forearm.

Something dire had occurred.

The second-deadliest shooting at an elementary, middle, or high school on record in the United States had occurred in Uvalde, Texas.

The school children, ranging from second through fourth-graders, were in that frame of mind that we all know so well. Only a couple more days of classes, than a summer break with vacations, friends, and county fairs. The last day of school was to be Thursday.

Then a gunman wearing body armor came into the classrooms and used his assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine to shred the bodies of boys and girls sitting at their desks. The carnage and images that some children witnessed will require therapy and counseling.

Adolfo Hernandez described to the media what his nephew, who was in the building at the time of the madness, witnessed.

“He actually witnessed his little friend get shot in the face. The friend, he said, “got shot in the nose and he just went down, and my nephew was devastated.”

From the White House, President Biden reacted as the bulk of the nation is doing.

“It’s just sick,” he said regarding the insanity of allowing weapons designed for the battlefield to be able to be purchased and used by anyone who can buy one.

“Where in God’s name is our backbone, the courage to do more and then stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action.”

But Biden, as much as I appreciate him, did not come anywhere near to how a very large segment of the nation feels tonight.

Our national revulsion tonight is aimed at the greedy and soulless manufacturers and merchants of deadly guns, the callous and subhuman lobbyists of the National Rifle Association, and the dregs of the Republican Party who have no other skills than to ape the nonsense they hear from their puppet masters on FOX News and conservative politicians.

Investigators say the 18-year-old gunman was able to get his hands on a handgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, high-capacity magazines, and body armor.

It was also reported this evening on NPR that the NRA will hold its annual meeting in Houston starting on Friday. Not for the first time on this blog do I offer a way for the amoral members of that association to understand what they are doing to the nation.

We have long known the NRA is thy most dangerous lobbying group in America.  The bullshit response of ‘guns don’t kill, people kill’ gags the nation like rotten eggs left in a Texas car in mid-July.   Only the most severely uneducated rube or overly blind partisan would ever make such a stupid claim.

I think the top lobbyists and promoters of the NRA should be taken to this Texas school and once the bodies of the victims are removed have their noses rubbed in the mess that remains on the floor of the school.  Let them smell the results of the deranged policies they advocate.

Make those same NRA leaders attend every single funeral for the students.

Force the NRA to explain to the locals of Uvalde why gun interests are more important than the children of that community.

There is a great need in this nation to no longer allow the tail to wag the dog when it comes to gun control measures. There was a blood-letting today that will make the headlines, but the NRA is counting on most Americans to forget this horrible story by the time they finish their fifth beer on the couch Friday night. The NRA counts on not being mentioned again until another mass shooting.

And on, and on, it goes.

The NRA will continue to torpedo gun control legislation, and threaten politicians. The NRA will use the most base and clueless within the Republican Party to repeat and regurgitate the vile trite crap and use the echo chamber of conservative media to beat home the insane and factless talking points. We have seen this playbook all before.

Spring will turn to summer. Summer to fall. 2022 will blend into 2023. Folks, we have seen this bullshit before, mass shooting, after mass shooting.

More guns will continue to be sold, and countless rounds of ammunition will be bought.

Untold amounts of weapons will be fired.

And we all know that some of those will be fired into innocent kids, like what happened today.

We need to find our balls on this issue and stand up and demand from our legislators that they also find their own set!

The NRA needs to know they are no longer in charge. Our nation is too important to allow the games the NRA plays to continue.

If you think I am wrong, talk to a parent of a dead child in Uvalde.

22 Years Of Walking Our Shared Road

Gregory and James, 2000, first family Thanksgiving in the Hancock home

Today James and I celebrate 22 years of walking a shared road together.

We met at Borders Books (University Avenue) as I sat at a table with a newspaper, a book about Wyoming, and a mug of coffee. A guy came up and asked, “Anything happening in the news today?” I was having my first conversation with James.

We had nodded and smiled at each other over the weeks as I stopped at Borders where he worked after first coming to Madison following a teaching stint on the East Coast. But that day as he took a break, ate a cinnamon roll, and chatted with me something remarkable started.

That evening we had our first date which included dinner on State Street and some humorous conversation. I dropped James off at his apartment door with a kiss on the cheek. Corny perhaps, but true.

Two weeks after we met he attended six weeks of summer classes at Middlebury College in Vermont. Each evening we had long phone conversations where we really got to know each other. By the time he came back to Madison I knew he was the person I wanted to spend time with, and he wanted to call this city home.

Two years to the day after we met, we picked up the keys to our first apartment. I had never lived with anyone before and was pleased to know he had a touch of OCD, too. Over the years we moved into our Victorian home, did some traveling, and planted some gardens but every day there is one constant. That is laughter. It abounds here during the day and every night before we fall asleep it bounces off the walls as we just chat.

I really think there is one special person for everyone, and Lord knows I waited and wondered if I would ever find mine. James has been my best friend, partner, and soulmate all these years, and I love him very much.

Our shared road continues.