Toto, Where Have We Landed?

I grew up in a rural Wisconsin home with rather firm codes of how to live life. Not old-fashioned as much as one where values were taken seriously. Not just talked about, but lived.

It was frowned upon to cheat on your wife; straying from marriage vows was not looked at as being manly. It was not so much a religious view, but rather one about character, or the lack thereof. Fathers imparted, through their actions, lessons for boys to learn and live as they, too, came of age.

So today, I had reason to think about Danielle Mitterrand who invited her husband’s mistress, Anne Pingeot, and their 21-year-old daughter Mazarine, to the funeral service for former French President François Mitterrand. I recall that news story from many years back and can still recall the oddness of how it landed when first hearing it. Who lives that way? Or accepts living that way?

This all comes to mind as Donald Trump took his third wife to the funeral for his first wife. I felt sad for the grown children who lost their mother but also who had lost years ago that sense of what a real home and stability and a healthy family unit look and feel like. Today the third wife must have also felt like, well, just another spoke in the life and times of the troubled rich. After all, she too, is just a spoke in that family which all spins around Donald.

It just is hard for me to even know what type of ‘family’ dynamics are at play where something like that which played out today is considered normal, or dare I say, acceptable. My perspective of which I write is not political, but rather just the feelings about where I think the guardrails on society should be placed. We can see what does happen when those constraints are not acknowledged.

I have written often on this blog about the need for good parenting and proper role models. That need continues.

Three Questions For Amoral NRA and Soulless Gun Manufacturers To Address

Has the NRA offered to pay for any of the funerals in Highland Park or assist in millions of dollars in hospital costs for the injured?

How do the NRA and soulless gun manufacturers expect gun victims without adequate health insurance to pay for the enormous costs associated with mass shootings?

Do the NRA and soulless gun manufacturers push for a blood drive where mass shootings take place and scores are wounded and rushed to local hospitals? Or are they too busy counting blood money from their gun sales?

Why Are Guns More Important Than This Kid Being Able To Walk?

Why do we fight for gun control in the nation?

No one needs their personal gun(s) more than this child needs to walk. Period.

This 8-year-old boy shot in the 4th of July parade in Highland Park is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Cooper Roberts, one of the Roberts family’s twin 8-year-old boys, had remained in critical condition for several days with a severed spinal cord.

On Friday, Cooper was removed from the ventilator and was conscious for the first time, but it was confirmed that the boy is paralyzed from the waist down, close friend and family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said in a statement.

“Cooper is asking to see his 8-year-old twin Luke and his dog George,” the statement said.

The reason there is so much legitimate anger, revulsion, and utter repudiation for the selfish and soulless gun advocates and those within the blood-soaked NRA is that their actions and amoral behavior create the conditions where Cooper is to live his life in a wheelchair.

If you have in any way supported the NRA or voted for their political puppets who have undermined gun legislation in our nation then you must carry the weight that is now the future of a kid who can not walk.

Cooper was described as a boy who likes to play sports and is a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.

But at least some angry men around the nation have their guns today. And can buy more this weekend! Maybe even get their father to ‘sponsor’ them so they can get a high-powered weapon.

Waste In America: 82 Million Covid Doses Tossed

It was a jarring number to hear reported on the national news Monday morning.

When calculating in pharmacies, the 50 states, American territories, along with the federal agencies it was discovered that over 82 million COVID does were discarded. The time frame for the disposal was from December 2020 through mid-May this year.

To add more sting to the news that means over 11 percent of the doses the federal government distributed were ‘flushed’.

There is no way to feel anything than angst and even outright revulsion, as we know poor nations are still very much behind in their efforts to vaccinate. Once again, Americans have shown an ugly side by having so much at our disposal, and not being wise enough to act for the greater good.

I understand that with the large effort at vaccination there is an estimated amount factored in for removal from the process, given the ‘shelf life’ of the doses once opened. But also we know our nation had the means to be vaccinated and truly engage, one with another, so to stem and more firmly break the hold the virus has on our national health.

But too many willfully refused to act responsibly.

In May, it was reported our nation passed a grim number when over 1 million of our fellow citizens had died from a virus that medical professionals and scientists had alerted us about, and also asked us to help prevent spreading. At every stage of the pandemic, some first denied the existence of COVID, worked against mask mandates, and rebelled against closing or curtailing social interactions, such as schools and universities.

So I guess, in fairness, it should not have come as any surprise that many would adamantly reject a medically-proven vaccine to assist in moving our nation past a medical and economic crisis. The far less than stellar vaccine rates around the nation turned into part of the narrative we have sadly come to accept.

Yet it was a whopping number of trashed doses to learn about upon waking today. Our government did not fail to do its part starting in late December 2020 to supply the national need for shots in the arms of the populace. Scientists did not fail to continue working when new variants were detected, nor did health departments when urging citizens to be steadfast about getting boosters, too.

In the end, Americans failed each other. Tribal politics and relentless advocacy for the most baseless and absurd claims by anti-vaxxers were repeated and fed to a segment of the nation, who then simply opted out of their role as good stewards of humanity.

There is no way to hear or read “over 82 million COVID vaccine doses wasted” and not feel an empty space in our national collective soul.

What Is Happening To Our Work Culture?

Friday, June 3rd, I stopped at my usual Madison grocery where I shop weekly, arriving at 7:45 P.M at the deli so to pick up some various lunchmeats. A young woman behind the counter had already spread out a plastic-type of sheet and was further expanding it over meats not yet covered.  I knew from experience the deli closes at 8P.M. There is even a sign noting that time on the top of the deli counter.  

When I asked for some meat, the worker told me she had met her 40 hours for the week and with tone and body language strongly inferred I should not ask for service. I asked that she be professional and honor the sign on the deli.  I then bought three types of meats at about a $20 cost.

Upon finishing the transaction, she told me she had now worked 8 minutes overtime.  I did not know how to respond to what was a rude comment for doing nothing more than shopping in a grocery store during open hours.  I am not sure if she was totally aware it is due to customers who shop at the store that then allows her to earn a salary.

I follow business news closely and know of angst among workers, issues of salary, and the great transitions underway in the workplace. I am sympathetic to some of the larger issues at hand. But I have never encountered a face-to-face service industry employee who exhibited such behavior that made me write a letter to the manager.

I know about working longer hours than expected, as I was a radio broadcaster where over-time Brewer baseball games from the West Coast would force the FM station to be on the air past our normal midnight sign-off. But I stayed and did the job even though I had passed my 40-hour work week, too. I would have been rightly fired had I just decided to cut the power to the station. Or place a plastic sheet over the studio microphone and cared not what the listening audience thought about the ongoing sporting event.

In 1984, I worked the board for a game that at the time was the longest OT to be played, with the league rules forcing a resumption of play the following afternoon due to the late hour. That was May 9th, when the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers played in a 25-inning game. The game was the longest in MLB History. On top of the very long night, I also note I am not a sports fan.

The episode Friday night leaves me pondering what is happening to the work culture in our nation when there is no longer regard for doing a job completely and with a determination at doing it properly.

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.

Ginni Thomas Proves No Limit To Absurdity

Never think things can not be worse. More absurd. More delusional.

They most certainly can be far direr than we can imagine.

Enter Ginni Thomas.

Famed journalist Bob Woodward–a reporter I have admired since my teenage years–along with powerhouse Robert Costa made for lots of late-night reading Thursday. It was after midnight when James started to read me some news coverage from The New Yorker, but I stopped him to ask if this was a parody from Andy Borowitz. He assured me it certainly was not.

Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a series of urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.

The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.

On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

Part of me wants to snicker at the best schooled and ‘brightest’ conservative minds in the nation wallowing in the slimy pits of voter conspiracy theories. After all, Ginni and Clarence Thomas willingly walked down a very slanted floor and surely now think it is the rest of us who are naive for not using the hose to slide the rest of the way down the drain with them.

The collision of logic and preposterousness can not be played out in more stark terms than to read the emails of Ginni Thomas. Leave aside, for the moment her lack of regard for the Constitution or laws of the nation.

Consider the fact there is no darker or more sinister aspect to this seemingly Shakespearean tragedy that is the life of Donald Trump, than the news from the past 24 hours. It is irrational to read of Thomas, a person who entered Trump’s orbit and trashed herself for someone who would spit on her should she but deviate one iota against him. Thomas is as expendable as everyone one else in Trump’s infantile world. That she was not able to discern this truth paints her as being addle-minded.

When it comes to craven ambitions and low standards of behavior Ginni Thomas has recorded a new record. Considering I truly felt we had seen and heard just about everything possible when it came to the 2020 election this news story did make me aware there is always a new basement being dug.

We just need time to learn which conservative Republican is holding the shovel.

We should be angry and demand full accountability for this dangerous and unreasonable behavior from Ginni and Clarence Thomas. In the newsrooms, one thing is not in doubt. This story was legs.

Promoting sedition and undermining a presidential election is not probably what Ginni’s parents wished for her as a legacy. But they probably did not imagine she would cozy up to a man who would be accused of a violation of the Code of Conduct while sitting on the Supreme Court, either.

And so it goes.