Thursday, November 9, 2023

Step Aside Crocodile Dundee: This Bad Ass Aussie Bit a 10-Foot Crocodile's Eyelid and Lived to Talk About It

For those of you have not seen the movie Crocodile Dundee the movie is about a bad ass Aussie who carries a giant bowie knife around to pick his teeth with.

The movie character had no problem wrestling with crocodiles that ranged from 10 to 20 feet long. 

Step aside Crocodile Dundee and meet Australian cattle farmer Colin Deveraux who survived a crocodile attack after biting the huge predator on the eyelid.

Needless to say, this is better than a man bites dog story, so I just had to share it.

Setting the Scene

One day Colin was working his way along the Finniss River in the Northern Territory when he stopped to check a billabong, an Australian term for a pond left when a river recedes.

Seeing some fish in there he decided to catch some, before realizing that there was something else in the water and he turned to leave.

Well 65-year-old Colin got a rude surprise which he described to ABC News; 

"I took two steps and the dirty bastard latched onto my right foot. It was a big grab...he shook me like a rag doll, and he took off back into the water about 10-feet pulling me along," he explained. 

The tough old Aussie recounted how he kicked the crocodile and then fell over with his head near the crocodile's head before trying to bite it.

Somehow Colin managed to get a hold on the crocodile's eyelid, which he later described as "pretty thick, like holding onto leather."

Out of sheer desperation Colin jerked back on the eyelid and the beast let go of him allowing the plucky Aussie to roll over and run away.

Now that my friend is bad ass.

After stopping the bleeding with some rope, he walked (!) to the hospital where he was told he had damage to his tendons and "two big slashes just about the full length of the foot."

Footnote on Australian Crocodiles

Known locally as salties, they can grow up to 20-feet long and weigh up to 2,200 pounds.

After spending a month in the hospital Colin declared himself a changed man, and now believes he shouldn't have gone that far into the billabong.

"I'm a changed man," he told reporters, "I'm going to change what I do!"

As it stands, I love that tough as nails persona that Australians have and their wry sense of humor.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Since When Does the Play 'Oklahoma' Contain Mature Adult Themes, Profane language, and Sexual Content?

Let's get this party started by pointing out that the play Oklahoma has been produced in high schools across the land for over 50 years.

Suddenly the longtime family-friendly musical written by the duo Rodgers and Hammerstein is pornographic according to a school district in Texas (where else?).

What led to this misrepresentation?

A high school in Sherman, Texas abruptly stopped the production of the musical Oklahoma and forced a transgender theatre male student out of the lead role.

The Sherman Independent School District didn't stop there. 

They also went on to say the student produced play contained mature adult themes, profane language, and sexual content and needed to be entirely reviewed by the board and was postponed from Dec.8-10 to sometime after January 15, 2024.

Excuse me. The musical that has been delighting families since the early 1960s is now suddenly a porn show! I don't think so. 

What I do think happened is that when the high school cast a transgender student for the lead, it set off alarm bells in the MAGA minds of district employees. What other explanation is there?

Anyone that knows anything about the history of the theatre is aware that men have been portraying women, and vice versa since ancient Greece. That fact didn't faze the haters in the district who declared that the sex of the role as identified in the script will be used when casting.

By the way, who brought those pornographic allegations about the musical to the attention of the school board? It wouldn't surprise me if it was the extremist group Moms for Liberty who are known for banning school and library books and disenfranchising LGBTQ students by taking their rights away.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect to this story is how a school district is putting out lies to justify their bigoted decision to halt the production and take it out of student hands.

As it stands, this is just another case of conservative extremists attempting to alter reality by using whatever powers they have as officials.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The Senate Has Finally Had Enough of Tuberville's Antics

After viewing a video of Sen. Tommy Tuberville exiting a plane on his butt as he slid down the stairs, it struck me that this fool was endangering our national security by holding up promotions for all the branches of our military.

His five-month blockade of promotions has already caused his home state of Alabama an opportunity to be the new headquarters of America's Space Command. Colorado was awarded the contract instead.

Basically, Tuberville so alienated American military personnel that they were unwilling to go to bat for his state and stuck with the original plan of Colorado. 

That should be no surprise because Alabama's senior senator was being a jerk to the very people, he needed to side with him. According to the Associated Press it was General James Dickinson, the Head of Space Command, who persuaded the president that Colorado was the best choice.

Apparently, senators have finally had enough of the man who never went into the military but was blocking military promotions. Last week the Senate agreed to move forward on a measure to marginalize the Republican senator.

The Senate Rules Committee is crafting a solution that Republicans can support. It would establish "a standing order for the remainer of the 118th Congress to provide for the en bloc consideration of military nominations with the exceptions of nominees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and commanders of a combatant command - favorably reported by the Armed Services Committee."

What gets me is the Senate rules have long been broken by allowing a single person to stage a filibuster protest. This attempt to bypass Tuberville should have happened five months ago when he first threw a tantrum and threatened our national security.

The good news is that, for once, senators are admitting that something was broken and are going to do something about it. The vote will happen on November 14th.

As it stands, let's hope that they succeed by getting enough votes to stop Tuberville's obstruction of our military force's readiness.

Monday, November 6, 2023

You Want Crazy? How About Florida Taxpayers Funding Trump's Legal Defense Against Criminal Indictments

Regular readers may be saying today, "Hey Dave, you just wrote about taxpayers being ripped off to pay congressional felon's pensions. What's up with the tax stories?"

For starters, I'm not having a senior moment if that's what some people think. The misuse of taxpayer's money has been in the news a lot recently. I'm a taxpayer and these stories piss me off.

If you thought my post about rewarding congressional convicted criminals was shocking, I've got another tax tale that will curl your toes.

It's common knowledge that Florida is controlled by corrupt Republican lawmakers. Gov. DeSantis and his cronies have been carrying on a crusade against abortions, wokism, and the LGBTQ community.

Now we have Florida's chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, advocating for taxpayers to pay Trump's legal fees!

Speaking at the Florida Republican Party's Freedom Summit on Saturday, Patronis suggested setting up a legal defense fund to help any Florida presidential candidate "targeted by politically motivated prosecutors."

In other words, Trump.

Patronis claimed it would fix what he called the "double standard of justice" that Trump is facing. Both Trump and DeSantis attended the summit.

The responses on X, formerly Twitter, made it clear that Floridians think the idea is crazy.

"The CFO of Florida just proposed using state money (taxpayer funds) to help pay Donald Trump's legal bills," one person wrote on the platform. "A man who collected millions of dollars from donors and claims to be a billionaire. Instead of paying teachers, fixing infrastructure, etc. our CFO says Trump deserves the tax dollars!"

Another annoyed commentor wrote, "Perhaps Florida CFO should concern himself with his job responsibilities, since our insurance premiums are the highest in the country, and it's driving folks out of their homes." 

What we have here is a new twist in Trump's grifting technique - now he's getting lawmakers and government officials to pay his legal fees by using taxpayer money. 

I don't believe for a moment that Patronis woke up one day and was personally inspired to bring up this crazy idea. One can only guess what Trump offered him.

As it stands, I hate seeing the average American taxpayer constantly getting ripped off by crooked lawmakers. Exhibit one; the rich don't pay taxes and if they do it's less than me and you.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Taxpayers Are Funding Criminal Lawmakers Pensions

Believe it or not, you are paying former federal lawmakers pensions even though they were convicted of crimes while in office.

Pensions for congressional felons have cost taxpayers about $3.7 million between 2007 and 2022, according to research from the nonpartisan taxpayer research organization, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

The reason why is a series of loopholes that have been protecting congressman despite being convicted of committing wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, sexual abuse, and child pornography.

Not a single former federal lawmaker who has applied for retirement benefits has ever lost their taxpayer-funded congressional pension, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

* Since 1980, more than two dozen members of Congress have been indicted for such crimes, some spending years in prison, but they all got their pensions.

*The first legislation to restrict some government officials from collecting their pensions was the Hiss Act in 1954.

It was designed to take away pensions from government officials convicted of national security crimes such as treason, espionage and sabotage, or who pleaded the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in such cases.

The legislation was named after State Department official Alger Hiss after he was convicted of perjury for denying he conducted espionage for the Soviet Union.

The bottom line is his revoked pension was reinstated in 1972 as it was declared unconstitutional for the law to be applied retroactively.

Since then, lawyers have continued to take advantage of the loopholes still infused into the system to get their criminally indicted clients their pensions.

The latest example is Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who has served 17 years in the Senate. He faces up to 50 years in federal prison across four charges related to acting as a foreign agent of Egypt and taking bribes while serving as a public official.

Because of the aforementioned legal loopholes, he could still get his pension of about $70,000 per year if convicted of any or all the charges.

Pardons equal Pensions

When Trump was president he pardoned several congressional felons, including former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) who was found guilty of 17 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering and money laundering.

Other Lawmakers pardoned by Trump:

* Former Rep. Mark D. Siljander (R-MI) who pled guilty to obstruction of justice and money laundering.

* Former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) who pled guilty of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements to law enforcement officials.

* Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) who pled guilty to a count of conspiracy to steal campaign funds.

The good news is there has been steps taken to right this terrible wrong. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act and Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act are the latest legislation to outline the circumstances that would strip congressional felons of their pensions.

It's worth noting that only certain crimes strictly related to their congressional duties would lead to pension disqualifications.

And that's a problem!

In essence they have a list of crimes they'll go after but are letting the rest of the possible crimes slide.

As it stands, this is just another example of why Americans have lost faith in Congress.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Why Trump's Washington DC Election Subversion Case Won't be Televised

There's never been a more important trial in American history than the one taking place in March 2024 when a former president will be tried for trying to overthrow a legal election.

But it won't be televised. 

News organizations and the Trump team, and the general public are calling on a federal judge to allow cameras in the court. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan doesn't want to make an exception to the long-standing rule barring cameras from federal courtrooms.

Courts have long upheld the rule's constitutionality, and the federal judiciary reaffirmed the policy in criminal cases as recently as September.


Prohibiting cameras in the courtroom dates back to the television age when they were wary of feeding what the Supreme Court in a 1966 decision called a "carnival atmosphere" of publicity that could intimidate witnesses, sway jurors, prompt grandstanding by attorneys or judges or deprive criminal defendants of their due process.

One of the things that exacerbated the court's fears happened thirty years ago when a nine-month televised criminal trial and acquittal of retired football star O.J. Simpson on state murder charges in California.

For those that remember that trial it was a theater of the absurd with O.J. trying to pull a glove over his hand and his lawyer calling out, "If it doesn't fit, acquit!" The majority of Americans felt O.J. got away with murder and lost their confidence in the judicial system.

So, I get it. That doesn't mean I like this recent decision not to have cameras in the courtroom.

As a journalist it goes against my grain not to have open transparency for what will probably be called the trial of a century. I can't agree with the rule in this case. 

This is the 21st century and we've had leaps in technology with the recent coronavirus pandemic emergency and increasing experimentation by federal courts with live or recorded streaming of oral arguments have led some lawmakers and advocates to ask whether Trump's case might mark a fresh tipping point in the debate. 

Or at least provide the impetus for incremental changes such as the archiving of video or the prompt release of audio recordings.

It's also worthwhile to note that Trump's impeachment trial after the Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt on the Capitol, and hearings of the House Select Committee that investigated events surrounding the rioting were both nationally televised.

It drew open-day television audiences averaging more than 11 million and 20 million, respectively, not counting online viewers.

Look at it this way, Trump has already made his four indictments into a seamless shit show. It's just going to happen no matter what people want. The former grifter in charge doesn't believe any rules apply to him.

I argue that it's extremely important for the public to fully accept the outcome of the trial by viewing it. It would go a long way towards providing evidence and the credibility of witnesses for all to see and hear.

If Americans do not have confidence that Trump is being treated fairly by the justice system, there is a very real chance they will reject the verdict (whatever it is).

We have to keep in mind that Trump's base is never going to accept a guilty verdict. They are a cult and being reasonable is not part of their DNA.

As it stands, I find it interesting that all parties, including the Trump team, want cameras in the courtroom. Democrats and Republicans have both advocated for cameras along with the national media.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Are You Kidding Me? Trump to Create 'American Academy'

Trump Academy 2.0 may be coming our way, as the twice-impeached former president is talking about starting another college.

It wasn't that long ago Trump University was sued for defrauding students and using high-pressure tactics to sell seminars (often called retreats).

After winning the presidency in 2016 Trump had to pay $25 million for his massive educational scam. The clincher was the university was not an accredited university or college.

It's Deja vu all over again.

Now Trump is touting a federally funded, "anti-woke," free university. 

In the name of "massive higher-education overhaul," Trump says he will create the "American Academy" by "taxing," fining, and suing excessively large private university endowments" and then creating an endowment from which to fund this new institution, which will make a "world-class education available to every American free of charge."

Trump promises the academy will be strictly nonpolitical, and there will be no "wokeness" or jihadism allowed."

Wait a minute! Non-political? Then what's this talk about wokeism and jihadism all about? It's the height of folly to believe he can fix these problems by creating a government-run school.

It's just not possible to have a values-free politics-free education. You can't provide much of an education without advancing or at least discussing one or more world views. Plus, the worst thing you can do is put a politician in charge.

Especially a corrupt one like Trump. His track record with an educational institution is a story of complete failure and a grift that went on for years before being busted.

Let's face it. This is another typical Trumpian scam, like funding a wall by "making Mexico pay for it."

The good news is that there's no way either political party would go for Trump's "American Academy" for a multitude of reasons. First among them is that Trump's a con man with no conscience.

As it stands, the thing that amuses me about Trump's gall is that he doesn't think Americans remember, or care, about his last corrupt attempt in the education field.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Why Doesn't the New Speaker of the House Have a Bank Account?

Everyone has a bank account today. 

My 16-year-old granddaughter has a bank account. 

I have friends and family that have opened bank accounts for their children when they were in elementary school.

Everyone except the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who apparently doesn't have a bank account. 

It gets stranger every day. Johnson hasn't filed any financial disclosures dating back to 2016, the year he joined Congress. He never reported having a savings or checking account in his name, his spouse's name, or in the name of any of his children. He doesn't have a retirement account and neither does his wife.

What's more he hasn't listed any assets. How is that possible? Didn't anyone notice this in the last seven years?

Consider this, he made more than $200,000 last year - in addition to his wife's salary. So, where the hell did that money go?

Some theories I've run across:

1. He hides his money in his mattress and other odd places throughout the house. Think Sen. Bob Menendez's house where agents found more than $480,000 in cash stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing.

2. He lives paycheck to paycheck. What money he has is in a bank account with under $1,000 in it so it doesn't have to be reported to any financial institution.

3. His money goes to offshore bank accounts under an alias.

4. He is terrible at managing the money he makes, and he may be in massive debt.

How common is it for members of Congress to not have a bank account - let alone no assets?

Brett Kappel who is a government ethics expert recently answered that question.

"It's very unusual for a member not to have to disclose at least one bank account."

Jordan Libowitz, communications director the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had an even more blunt assessment, "If Johnson truly doesn't have any assets, it raises questions about his personal financial wellbeing."

To Libowitz's point that could mean he's ripe for influence buying. It doesn't take a genius to suspect there's something rotten in Denmark the House of Representatives.

The fact is Johnson does owe a lot of money. Every year, he has listed two mortgages on which he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars and a personal loan on which he owes tens of thousands. In 2019, he opened up a home equity line of credit, also worth tens of thousands of dollars.

No matter how you look at it something financially shady has been going on for years. 

Suddenly this unvetted politician and little-known Republican with seemingly no money has been vaulted into a speakership in Congress. Just one step away from the presidency.

To top it all off they call him MAGA Mike because he idolizes Trump and has a track record of going after the LGBTQ community and seeking to abolishing abortion rights for women across the country.

As it stands, so what could go wrong? We'll find out soon enough if he shuts the government down on November 17th.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Shame on Us! Americans are Letting One Man Destroy Democracy

Shame on Us!

Millions of Americans have joined a cult where one man wants to rule like an emperor. There's no excuse for what's happening other than populist mind control.

Donald Trump represents all that is wrong in politics today. His control of Republican lawmakers makes him a shadow Speaker of the House which makes it easier to subvert Congressional rules and norms.  

I keep hearing that no one is above the law, but Trump keeps proving that's not true. He gets the kid glove treatment in courts where judges are afraid to put him in jail for violating gag orders. Despite 91 felony charges in four jurisdictions political pundits still don't think he'll do jail time.

Trump literally gets away with lying every day as he seeks to rewrite the reality around him and his supporters. 

I've never seen one man with so much power able to create chaos and polarize an entire nation. As an avid fiction reader and writer, I wouldn't have attempted a plot this crazy because readers wouldn't have bought into it.

Unfortunately, it's all too real. America is struggling to shed the biggest threat to democracy since the Civil War.

There's not a news organization or social media platform that doesn't bring up Trump's name daily. His every lying angry rant gets picked up and recirculated regularly.

The rest of the world is baffled about how America - the greatest modern democracy - has embraced a psychopathic malicious narcissist with the mental IQ of a fourth grader.

The Trump plague has spread like the black plague in medieval times affecting other countries with fascist-minded individuals attacking other democracies.

To be clear, Americans really blew it when they allowed Trump to enter their lives and threaten their freedoms. Now we're paying the price.

But getting justice is harder these days with lots of Trump-appointed judges willing to protect him at all costs. That includes the Supreme Court justices he appointed while in office.

Some credit is due because he is currently being tried for his criminal activities in multiple courts. Sadly, many Americans don't believe he'll ever be held accountable for trying to overthrow an election and stealing top secret documents.

The fact that criminally indicted Trump is running to be re-elected president is something straight out of The Twilight Zone. If jailed for violating gag orders he still plans on running his campaign from behind bars.

As it stands, I hope Americans finally realize how important their vote is and how it'll affect their own future. Freedom depends upon it. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

To Some Americans Happiness is a Warm Gun

      Happiness is a warm gun (Bang, Bang, shoot, shoot)

     Happiness is a warm gun momma (Bang, bang, shoot, shoot)

When I hold you in my arms (ooh, oh, yeah)

and I feel my finger on your trigger (ooh, oh, yeah)

I know you can do me no harm (ooh, oh, yeah)


Mother Superior jumped the gun...

Happiness is a Warm Gun - by the Beatles' John Lennon

The photo above is real. I checked it out on Snopes. It's authentic.

In October of 2023, an image gained nearly one million views on X (formerly Twitter), allegedly showing an American family and their large collection of guns.

An Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti took the photo as a part pf his "The Ameriguns" project. for which he won the 2021 World Press Photo of the Year contest in the "Portrait Stories" category.

Here's another family portrait from Amerguns:

Meet the family flamethrower Torrell Jasper a.k.a. Black Rambo. He light's things up as his adoring family watches from a pool - lined with firearms. They live in Schiever, Louisiana.

Nothing says Christmas like new assault rifles as seen by this family who asked Santa Claus for fully automated weapons of war.

Just look at all the happy smiles (left) in U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie's house in this holiday greeting card that was taken days after a school shooting.

How about this all- American family (right) posing with their personal assault rifles? 

The Oklahoma GOP chairman and his family (shown here) called for Dr. Fauci to be shot for mask and vaccine mandates. Don't they look like they mean business?

Well, I guess you get the picture. Americans love their guns so much mass shootings will never go away. We'll always lead industrialized countries in gun possessions and killings.

As it stands, John Lennon knew that when he satirized guns in his song. It was no small irony that John was murdered by a gun wielding nutcase after it came out. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Disgusting Statistics That Tell the Tale of Where We're at in America Today

Cold hard statistics cannot be shoved aside when evaluating the health of any society. America is no exception.

Revealing Hate Crime Statistics

You may be surprised to know that the state of Pennsylvania leads the country in Hate Crimes, according to the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI.

Not far behind Pennsylvania: Florida, California, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.  

In 2019 (the latest stats available) there were 7,314 incidents reported. The population covered 305,284,239. 

Gun Statistics

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults either own a firearm or could see themselves buying one in the future, according to a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The exact number of civilian-owned guns in the U.S. is difficult to calculate, but a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey estimated there were 393.3 million guns in civilian possession around that time. You can bet that number has gone up considerably in the last five years.

* White adults had the highest ownership percentage (38%), while Asian adults had the lowest (10%).

* Just 32% of gun owners said they were for hunting and sport shooting.

* People who identified themselves as conservative Republicans (51%) were far more likely to own a gun that those who identified as moderate Republicans (38%) or moderate (24%) or liberal (16%) Democrats.

Statistics on Mass Shootings

We've already had more than 581 mass shootings so far this year, according to Gun Violence Archive.

There's been 35,749 deaths from guns this year. That includes Homicide/Murder and Suicide.

Over 248 children (age 0-11) killed by guns and 553 injured. There's been 1,178 teenagers (12-17) killed by guns and 3,339 injured.

Mass shootings are on the rise. For each of the last three years there have been more than 600 mass shootings - almost two a day. The study also shows that gun ownership grew significantly over the last three years.

The Center for Disease Control reported that 50 people are killed each day by a firearm.

America has more gun deaths than any other country on the planet. It's not even close according to the statistics from numerous sources. 

As it stands, statistics always make a better argument than opinions. Opinions are like assholes; everyone has got one!

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...