Saturday, February 20, 2021

Frozen Stories from Texas: The Deadly Winter of 2021

Winter came with historic lows and snowfall in Texas, a state totally unprepared to withstand freezing temperatures because of an energy grid that wasn't properly maintained.

Texas is under a weather siege. With the collapse of their power grid infrastructure - people have been without heat, electricity, and their water was, and is today, contaminated and has to be boiled.

Other Winter Stories

** Texas Senator Ted Cruz fled to Cancun while his constituents were freezing to death and going without food. Political pundits say it was a major gaffe as Cruz was forced to experience the walk of shame afterwards.

** A 11-year-old boy fell in a frozen pond in Jefferson, Texas and was spotted by a passing dog walker who rushed for help. The was okay and successfully rescued.

**Texas officials are investigating the outrageous energy bills as a result of last week's storm. Griddy, a power company told it's customers if they didn't like the prices they were welcome to go with someone else!

** Democratic Texas Reps. Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee, as well as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have raised over 2 million dollars for the Houston Food Bank.

** The powerful winter storm that hit Texas was a test for the state's "Go-It-Alone attitude." Texans have long prided themselves on bucking federal oversight and standing apart from the rest of the country. Now they need the federal government's assistance.

** President Biden approved a major disaster declaration and is sending FEMA in to assist the failed infrastructure.

** A Texas woman used tortillas to rescue a dog from the freezing cold. The woman picked up the lost, or stray, dog on her way back from a food run.

Finally...

Texas set the stage for its energy crisis more than 80 years ago when they vowed to never allow power outside the state, thus avoiding federal regulation.

Friday, February 19, 2021

It's Always The Same Thing: Republicans Don't Want Every American To Vote

The record voter turnout for 2020 was historic because a majority of the population voted.

That's a reason to celebrate our democratic foundation - the right to vote - is standing strong.

It withstood the efforts of Trump and the Republican Party who tried to subvert voter turnout last year.

Everyone knows the reason why.

The Republican Party is a minority party in terms of followers nationally. There's a hell of lot more Democrats and Independents from coast- to-coast.

To counter that reality Republicans have to cheat and obstruct justice to attain their election goals.

Since the 2020 election, GOP dominated state legislatures have been busy trying to restrict voting rights ahead of the 2022 elections. 

They're considering increasing voter ID requirements, tightening no excuse-vote-by-mail, and banning ballot drop boxes, among other insidious way to disenfranchise minorities who tend to vote for democrats.

I submit that this is a stupid approach because it's already backfired on them in 2020. Democratic voters were enraged when they saw the GOP's efforts to cancel their votes.

That was just one of the reasons Joe Biden won by over 7 million votes. The other is Democrats have learned to fight back and marshal their outreach resources to counter the GOP's assault on our democracy.

As long as there's GOP dominated legislatures, especially in the swing states, the right to vote is going to be limited by restrictions specifically designed to disenfranchise non-Republican voters.

Voting is a right in America, no matter what Republicans think.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Why Are The Supreme Court Justices Hindering Investigation of Trump?

For reasons unknown, the Supreme Court justices have diverged from long-standing practices and are holding up the case of Trump v. Vance.

Lawyers are baffled by the paths the justices have taken - or rather, not taken. One thing is clear, it's stalling the case to get Trump's taxes, and Vance's office is disadvantaged by the courts inaction.

For nearly four months, the court has refused to act on emergency filings related to the Manhattan grand jury's subpoena of Trump's tax returns.

This is not the normal procedure the court takes. Usually, there's a timely response, one way or the other.

So, what is happening behind the scenes?

This unexpected delay smacks of politics and appears to ensnarl the justices even more in the controversies of Trump.

Trump's lawyers have been fighting the subpoena for over a year in lower courts and in the supreme court.

The kicker is apparently Trump's legal team may be prolonging the case up to another year! Their new strategy is to get the justices to judge the merit of oral arguments they now want to submit.

The fact that the court has six conservative judges and only three liberal judges doesn't bode well for Vance's team.

It also confirms that the Supreme Court has been taken over by conservatives, and no longer serves the rest of Americans.

Shame on them!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Exposed! Trump and Putin's Conversations Are Being Investigated

This ought to be interesting

Throughout Trump's presidency he maintained a secret relationship with Putin.

Now the Biden administration is examining transcripts and memcons (memories of conversations by staffers) to see how much sensitive material (and secret agreements) Trump had with his Russian counterpart.

Many of the phone calls were hidden in the NSC's top-secret codeword system to limit staffers and even cabinet members' access and prevent leaks.

Trump went to great lengths to keep his in-person conversations with Putin private, from confiscating his interpreter's notes to foregoing American translators and notetakers in their meetings.

Records show Trump's interactions with Putin went as far as disclosing classified information to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office.

So now the question is how much of this material is going to be shared with the public?

Are we ever going to know the true depth of Trump's depravity regarding his relationship with Putin?

I'm hopeful that happens. But I'm realistic enough to realize that we may never get the whole story.

I'll be satisfied with some juicy tidbits of truth about Putin and Trump's relationship.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Real Reason Why GOP Senators Sold Their Souls To Protect Trump

Political pundits say it was fear that forced GOP Senators to vote for acquitting Trump during his second impeachment trial.

Fear of Trump's vengeance.

But it was more than that

The Republican Party has chosen fiction over fact. Loyalty to country is no longer part of the Republicans message.

Proof of that lies in the response that state GOP parties have had towards their own senators. The brave seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump are facing a backlash from their own states.

To put this in focus look no further than one state party Republican who attacked GOP Senator Toomey today. His take on Toomey reflects the whole party's attitude;

"We didn't send Toomey to the Senate to vote his conscience or what was supposedly right. He was sent there to further the party's aims. Period."

And there you have it. The soul of the Republican Party is gone, replaced by a cult who believes in power at all cost.

When political observers talk about domestic terrorism they don't just mean white supremacists anymore...

... they're also referring to a party that has gone rogue and is an enemy of democracy.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Need Health Insurance? Sign Up Today

Were you laid off from work in the last year?

Are you scrambling to get health insurance now that you're unemployed?

Experts say the number of uninsured people have risen during the pandemic and now the Biden administration has taken action.

Today marks the first day for signing up for the Affordable Care Act. Government insurance markets will be available until May 15th in most states.

Thanks to Biden who ordered that the program reopened, people who don't have coverage but recently developed a health problem will have an option for action.

Note: Any coverage purchased will start the first day of the following month.

If you need financial help the government will buy coverage in the marketplaces for you, depending on your income.

Interested?

The federal government operates a call center to offer assistance and can connect people to local help for selecting a plan.

Those who make 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible for assistance with premium payments in the form of tax credits.

If you're not happy with your current coverage, this enrollment period is an opportunity to improve your situation.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Coping With Stress: We All Need a Relief Valve

What do you do to relieve stress?

Eat?

Drink alcohol?

Do drugs?

What gets you through the day?

We've all been prisoners - to some extent - of the pandemic. As if life itself wasn't stressful enough we're now forcefully confronted with our mortality.

The answer to meeting the increased challenges is having a relief valve.

I remember a few decades ago when screaming in a clinical setting was considered a popular trend for coping with stress. It was called Gestalt Therapy, and as far as I know is still practiced today.

I'm not endorsing this approach to dealing with stress, but it's worth sharing it as one alternative.

I think a hobby - or better yet - hobbies are a better way to deal with the woes of the world.

Take knitting for example. I remember when Ram football legend Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier, took up knitting and suddenly made it okay for men across America to indulge in the craft.

The point is, like a pressure cooker, there has to be a release valve, or we go off the "deep end" and do stupid and bad things to ourselves and others.

There's countless options from reading, writing, exercising, making crafts, playing games, etc. al.

The trick is finding a hobby(s) that meets your unique interests. If you're one of those people that already has hobbies then you know what I mean.

Getting into that "happy place" can be a life saver. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

I'll Take 10 Shares of LeBron James To Go With My 20 Shares of Michael Jordan's

I pulled out my albums of sports trading cards the other day when I heard about what's happening on Wall Street.

There's a big trend in sports collectibles that's grabbed the attention of sophisticated investors as well as smart traders, transforming card collecting from a fusty hobby into a major investment market.

According to CNN Business industry insiders know their business is benefiting from a broader market euphoria. But they don't think the boom in demand is generating a price bubble.

Instead the experts are saying the cards are now part of our culture.

But what made the difference? Why now after decades of sports collectibles piling up in collectors homes?

The short answer is the trading card renaissance was spurred by the pandemic. Stuck at home without live sports games, people began raiding their attics and basements and digging up old cards.

Overnight, trading cards were everywhere, boosted by celebrity endorsers ranging from Mark Wahlberg to Steve Aokio and Rersy co-founder Gary Vaynerchuk.

Investment professionals, flush with cash following unprecedented stimulus measures from governments and central banks has caused prices to spike.

Funds are being created. Investors are pooling their resources, causing the cards to become a viable asset.

The bottom line is everyday buyers can purchase a small stake in a LeBron James or Michael Jordan.

The big difference between cards and stock is nobody loves stock. I'm not ready to sell my top cards because I simply don't want to part with them.

It's amazing watching the cards go up in value like never before. If you're a sports collector willing to part with top cards, now is the time to do it.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Senate Republicans Are Stuck


What does the man in the photo have in common with Senate Republicans?

Here's the situation; Senate Republicans are stuck.

When it comes to convicting Trump for his attempted coup they've super glued themselves into an uncomfortable corner.

With no chance for a "Road to Damascus" moment they are stuck in a quagmire of their own making.  

With the exception of the already established Trump puppets, Senate Republicans who wish they could vote to convict Trump are stuck. They have to acquit him because of their prior vote on the constitutionality of the trial before it even began.

Even though it's a sticky situation, one Republican senator has come out mid-trial (after viewing graphic films of the Capitol insurrection) and indicated he's changed his mind and will vote to convict.

Just one. The Lone Ranger among the hapless group of stuck Republicans, who are 'keeping their powder dry" in servile silence, apparently has a conscience. A rare attribute in Washington DC.

A quick true story

A Louisiana man glued a paper cup to his face yesterday in a bid to show the heavy-duty adhesive Gorilla Glue wasn't as sticky as a recent viral video claimed.

Asked why he did such an idiotic thing the man said, "I thought I could lick it off, kind of moisten it and pull it right off, but that didn't work though." 

The comparison

The Senate Republicans who voted that the trial was unconstitutional are stuck with that procedural dodge to avoid Trump's wrath.

The man with the cup glued to his mug had it surgically removed in what doctors said was a "painful peeling process."

The lone Republican who dared break ranks is going to go through a painful political process pushed by Trump minions.

But...

in both cases there will be healing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Another Trump 'Perfect Call' Prompts Criminal Probe in Georgia

Now there's two states that are investigating Trump for criminal offenses.

Remember Trump's first "perfect call" last year when he tried to extort the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden?

It looks like Trump didn't learn his lesson the first time (thanks to a Senate that was populated by jellyfish).

Georgia joins New York in filing a criminal investigation into Trump's activities - in this case a phone call that was far from "perfect."

The investigation by Fulton County prosecutors is looking into a damning phone call that Trump made to the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, while he was still president in which Trump begged him to "find" the votes to reverse Joe Biden's victory.

According to The New York Times there are several allegations ranging from false statements to "any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration."

In addition, Raffensperger's office has opened a separate investigation into the phone call.

Stay tuned.

This is going to be a bigger story than Trump's second impeachment.

More importantly, he may actually be convicted, unlike the impeachment trial with it's predetermined outcome.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Blursday Blather and the Same Old S**T

Another Blursday.

Another impeachment.

When it starts to feel like Groundhog Day every day it's time to take a break. Time to drop out, and get off the hamster wheel.

So, I'm cancelling today. 

There's nothing new under the sun. The same story that's been plaguing the planet - the pandemic - is a daily challenge to stay alive.

Trump is still headline news although he's no longer the president. And not just for the impeachment hearings that start today, but for all the other court cases he faces now as a civilian.

Racism is still rampant. Anti-Semitism still lurks in every corner of our society. 

White grievance politics still fuel militia groups and other wackos like QAnon followers.

Most Americans have no respect for the "other side" as division is a driving force that fuels hatred throughout the country.

No.

I'm letting this day pass without recognition. I'm going to focus on a peaceful day without the same old shit.

You might try doing the same.

Sunday Sacraments: Wine, Peyote, Cannabis, and Holy Water

A divine sip of wine is one way to worship God. According to Christians " alcohol is a gift from God that makes life more joyous,"...