Posting will be light over the next week-plus, so enjoy your holiday, and prepare yourself for the drama of a Republican House (albeit one with a rather slim majority).
For today, though, two items: the U.S. Senate may vote on H.R. 8404/S. 4556, the Respect for Marriage Act, as early as today, so you'll want to get on the horn with your Senators and tell them to vote for that bill. This bill might actually pass, and if it does, it will protect gay marriage and interracial marriage from whatever horror our Supreme Court is cooking up. I told my right-leaning Senator, who will be replaced by John Fetterman in January, not to listen to people who claim their "religious" "conscience" demands that our government prevent gay folks from marrying. If you don't want to gay-marry, I said, then just don't gay-marry. Shame that rage-filled right-wingers seem to have no idea how that works.
Also, Pennsylvania residents, take note: not long after I declared the Larry Krasner impeachment dead, the Pennsylvania state house up and impeached him, for something, I guess. Two-thirds of Pennsylvania's state Senators will have to vote to remove him from his office as Philadelphia District Attorney; Pennsylvania has 29 Republicans out of 50 state Senators, so they'd have to bully at least four Democrats into voting to remove him. Thus now's a good time to call your state Senator and tell them not to enable this right-wing sore loser drama Republicans want to inflict upon us. (Republicans rushed to impeach Mr. Krasner because, pending the results of two races in the Philly suburbs, they may have lost the Assembly.) Mr. Krasner has, frankly, enacted rather mild criminal justice reforms in his five years as DA, and any cop who says I CAN'TZ DOZ MYZ JOBZ ANYMOREZ!!!! simply because he can no longer indefinitely detain a guy for peeing against the wall of a bar at 3 AM is a whiner. And Jesus Mary and Joseph I hate whiners. I hate whiners with guns even more.
Anyway, enjoy time with family and friends this week, and thank you for all your good works.
You've noticed posting has been light the last couple of days? Not unprecedented, right? Sadly, this time it's going to stay that way for a few more days, at least, until I can resolve some computer-related issues.
In the meantime, thank you for reading, and thank you, also, for being the best citizens you can be.
Posting will be light around here through the holidays, though I should note the death of the Build Back Better Act at the hands of West Virginia "moderate" "Democratic" Senator Joe Manchin.
Sen. Manchin said yesterday that he's a "no" vote on the Build Back Better Act, which in a Senate with exactly 50 Democrats means it won't pass. Naturally he adds, as he often does, that "(i)f I can't go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can't vote for it." Good! Now he can explain to the good citizens of West Virginia that he is the reason they can't get paid family medical leave, a cap on insulin prices, a cap on child care costs, higher taxes on the rich and on corporations, or an extension of the Child Tax Credit expansion that just delivered the last of the $250 and $300 monthly checks into working families' bank accounts on December 15. Of course all he'll talk about is inflation and COVID and the national debt, though all of the things I just listed would actually help battle inflation and COVID, and the Build Back Better Act would add less money to the national debt than his pet "bipartisan" "infrastructure" bill from earlier this year.
Naturally Joe Manchin couldn't stop there: he also said that the Build Back Better Act represents an attempt to "dramatically reshape our society." To which I say: that is to laugh! The Build Back Better Act is already a compromise of a compromise of a compromise of a compromise of a compromise, and I'm sure I left a few compromises out. And the fact is that all the Big Gummint spending programs I mentioned in the previous paragraph, all part of this effort to "dramatically reshape" America, actually promote freedom. Are you more free or less free when you're figuring out which bills you can pay this month and which ones you can get away with "forgetting" to pay? Are you more free or less free when you're paying one working parent's entire year's salary just for child care? Are you more free or less free when you can't afford insulin because big corporations charge whatever for it? Are you more free or less free when you can't take a day off to care for a sick child or a sick parent without losing pay or losing your job? Are you more free or less free when more of your taxpayer money goes right into the pockets of big pharma CEOs? Are you more free or less free when absurdly wealthy billionaires can just buy Congressfolk to change laws so they can make even more money without doing any more work or contributing to civilization in any conceivable way? I trust you know the answer to all of these questions, even if Joe Manchin doesn't.
Or, more likely, pretends not to. He's not stupid, and nor are any of his comrades in Congress, so I must reluctantly conclude that I was right, earlier, when I supposed that the Democrats set up this whole process to fail. So Democrats absolutely deserve to lose both Houses of Congress -- except that we don't deserve what'll happen to us if Republicans take Congress again, and anyway, why let the Democrats off easy? So we should still clog up their phone lines, and then make them pay for their greed and their venality and their folly -- preferably by making them lose their next elections to real liberals, but short of that, by making their names mud for as long as they're in office, the way Joe McCarthy's name was mud during his last term as Senator after he'd doubled down one time too many. I want people like Joe Manchin to be afraid to show their faces in public, and then I want them to lose their primaries and slink away. Because he doesn't have the power. We do. And we need to wield it until they all understand that.
Posting here will resume on Monday, as I try to crank out as much of another book as I can.
I've been following the Republicans' latest electoral drama, of course, but I have little of consequence to say about it. Congressional Republicans are a bunch of diaper-loaded brats! How much more of the elephant dung do we need to see?
So, yeah, posting has been light and may be light for a bit yet until things shake out. At times like this I think of Bob Dylan in "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" singing "and I'll know my song well before I start singing." I expect I'll know that song at least a little better by the beginning of next week. In the meantime, deep breaths.
So it looks like I won't post anything new until after the New Year, when we'll start (of course!) with the ever-longer list of good House-passed bills the Senate won't touch.
In the meantime, this blog does have a Facebook page (it's right here), and if I find any good memes over the next two weeks, I'll share them with you there.
We've done a lot of good work in 2019, but we've got a lot more to do in 2020, and I hope you will keep coming to this site and keep using the action alerts here to tell your Congressfolk (and state legislators, and corporate leaders, and maybe even our President) to do the right thing. Thank you for all your efforts -- even during the bleakest times, these efforts help us move forward, even if we don't see that right away.
Posting will be light this week, which I suppose isn't a surprise, since it's a holiday week, but I've received fewer action alerts than normal these past few days, which, actually, is a surprise, to me, at least.
So perhaps we should take this opportunity to take a few deep breaths and gather up our strength, for though the finish line of 2019 may be in sight, 2020 is right behind it, promising an order of magnitude more drama than even the last three years -- or the last 15, or 20, or 40 -- have done.
Posting will be light a bit longer, as I am thisclosereally to getting book number three to the printer.
I do have goals for the new year, though. I want 2019 to be the year we start kicking this President to the curb. The Special Counsel's report notwithstanding I don't particularly want him out of office, but I want good Americans to shun and shame him out of any serious discussion about America's traditions and America's future. I guess I really want him to become the proverbial Mayor of Deadwood, a man who aches to get in on the action only to get pushed out of the way. But I also want 2019 to be the year that America gets tired of drama. And by "drama" I don't just mean all of the right wing's manufactured outrages -- I mean a culture that can't stop showing folks acting obnoxious in public, a culture that follows celebrities around and calls it "news," a culture that winks with approval at corruption. Big dreams, I know, but America is the place for big dreams.
Posting will be light around here for a few days, as I recover from an unexpected illness. In the meantime, check out the terrific blogs on my blogroll, now on the left-hand side of this page. And, as always, thanks for stopping by and doing something to make your country all it can be.
Posting will be light today and tomorrow. In the meantime, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, and hope all of you have family and friends to share it with. We'll be back with two new posts on Friday.
Not to belabor the obvious, but I won't have any new posts up until the New Year -- or until some politician does something so unconscionably stupid and evil that I won't be able to shut my yap about it, whichever comes first. These days, you never know.
There will be stuff to do at the year's outset, of course -- the FDA used the Christmas holiday to announce that it won't issue rules to stop rampant antibiotic abuse at factory farms, and the Republican House majority has already signaled that it will go after the EPA's new mercury/air toxin rules. So enjoy your break, because, as a citizen, you don't get very many of them, especially with the clowns we have in high office.
We'll get back to the action alerts on Monday, January 3; until then, please patronize the excellent websites found on the left- and right-hand sides of this page, and have a happy, healthy and safe New Year.
I'll get back to the action alerts tomorrow, by which time I should be done eating this giant barrel of crow about yesterday's election prediction. I clearly imposed my own moral sensibility on events yesterday -- I assumed that, since Republicans didn't deserve to win back all those seats after throwing a two-year-long tantrum, the voters wouldn't reward them. But I suppose voters had a different agenda -- punishing Democrats for not doing enough. I may question their wisdom, but I certainly don't question their impatience.
Regardless of the outcome, our task as citizens is the same -- communicate our will to our Reps and Senators until they do our will, as is their job. And I doubt our will has really changed all that much: we still want good government, and we don't want incompetent or evil government. And I maintain that this is not too much to ask.
Congress is off all this week -- please take a moment to jump for joy! -- and I have an appointment tomorrow morning, so I won't have anything new at least until Wednesday. Please patronize all the excellent links on the left- and right-hand sides of this page until then.
A number of things have kept me away from my computer for the last few days, and will likely continue to do so for a few days more. I plan a New Years' Eve post of some philosophical import (though not of length), but other than that, I'll have little to say until Congress gets rolling again. So, again, please enjoy the excellent sites on the left- and right-hand sides of this page.
I'll be out of town for a few days, so posting should be light at least until Tuesday. Please visit the excellent sites on the left- and right-hand sides of this page in the meantime.
I should mention that H.R. 1147, the Local Community Radio Act, passed the House yesterday. Also, I still think Bernie Sanders should have just let the Senate read out his entire bill yesterday. If the Senate produces the right bill, no one will regard the 16-plus hours spent reading it aloud as any big loss. As it is, the Senate will probably waste at least that much more time producing an ever-crappier bill that's three times as long.
I've had an unusually high number of outside commitments this week, so I apologize for the light posting. I plan to post an action-alert-with-penny-rant-tacked-on-at-the-end tomorrow, but it'll go up later in the afternoon than usual.
In the meantime, please patronize any of the excellent links I have on either side of this page. All of them will enrich you.
So, yeah. Congress is off this month (please take a moment to savor this boon), so I get fewer action alerts, so I post less. I'll put a few alerts up tomorrow, but in the meantime, check out this super-class act. She may well be the biggest winner out of all the idiots who've yelled nazihitleretcetera at health care townhalls. I'm so blessed to share a country with her.
I had a morning appointment, and I only have one action alert in my inbox (and it is a solid test of our devotion to the Constitution, I promise you), so I have little to say today.
Except this: I congratulate Sonya Sotomayor in becoming the first Hispanic-American ever nominated to the Supreme Court. I haven't yet read her opinions in very much detail, so I may still find her insufficiently liberal, but I do know that the "objections"I've heardso farare rubbish. Especially Greg Mankiw's (the second link). By Ford, she only had $30,000 in the bank at some points during the last four years! Yeah, that's going to resonate with a lot of people -- if I had $30,000 in the bank, I'd be halfway to Catholic sainthood. Plus, he thinks he's so much smarter than you -- his summary of his paper "The Savers/Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy" makes me think a better title would have been "The Articulation of the Obvious Using Big Words as Weapons Against the Reader." I really hate that in a person.
I've one alert in the inbox, no penny rants warm, and work later, so I won't have anything important to say today.
In the meantime, I've been meaning to share this and this, because they're damn funny. I don't know why I only seem to link to Manning Krull in the early winter months, because he's damn funny all year round.
Congress is off this week, I have no action alerts in my inbox, and the "liberal" media haven't offended me so deeply I've felt like spouting off about it, so I probably won't post again at least until Thursday. Of course, if the Executive branch tries some crap before then, I'll address it.
Of course, there's nothing stopping you from calling your Congressfolk and demanding a 90% tax bracket for the top one-fifth of one percent of income earners, or an immediate end to the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, or a Constitutional amendment affirming that corporations are not people and don't deserve more rights than people.
I'll be away for a couple of days, so I won't have a new post up until early next week. All the penny rants I thought to write might be spoiled by then, but then again they might not. In the meantime, thanks for visiting, and please visit the excellent links you see on the left- and right-hand sides of this page.
So, er, yeah, since I ain't said nothin' in a little over a week now, a light posting notice must be in effect. Please continue to patronize the excellent blogs in my blogroll in the meantime. Also, please continue to patronize the excellent blogs that are not in my blogroll. You probably know where they are.
However, I realize that my biennial public accounting of my political donations is long overdue, so here goes: I gave $100 each to Independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Independent House candidate Cindy Sheehan (CA-8), and $200 to U.S. Senate candidate Jim Martin (D-GA). (The latter figure should show up on some public database, but I haven't found it yet.) I didn't give to Mr. Martin because I don't like Saxby Chambliss -- I don't like Saxby Chambliss, but I believe that giving money to someone who just happens to oppose someone you don't like is, well, kinda like a hostage situation, and American citizens should never act like hostages. I gave Jim Martin money because I think he's damn terrific, and I'm damn sorry he lost.
As you've likely gathered, posting will be light around here this week. Even given that Congress doesn't reconvene for half a month, I'm receiving fewer action alerts than I normally do.
I also think John McCain will be our next President. I've been predicting Republican victory for months-if-not-years, though my analysis hasn't always been precise (I was sure Mr. Giuliani would face Mr. Edwards, for example). But the Democrats apparently have no clue that people admire candidates who appear to stand for things. That's true even if said people don't agree with said candidates, or aren't aware of all the inconsistencies of said candidates' stands. The appearance of forthrightness matters more. Yes, the "liberal" media helps some people appear more forthright than others, but as Phil Jackson said in 2001, you need to play above the referees. Easy for a guy with Shaq and Kobe on his roster to say that, you say? It should be easy for a party with Barack Obama on their roster, too, especially in a year folks are absolutely fed up with George W. Bush. But the Democrats will proclaim victory when they pick up five more Senate seats when they should have picked up ten or twelve.
Happy New Year everybody! Alas, it's time for another light posting notice. Past light posting notices (as a friend noted to me not long ago) have followed periods of relative inactivity more than they've actually preceded them. But I won't be posting again until Congress gets back. I need to detox from the internet a bit, and our-vacation-from-Congress presents a good opportunity for me to do that.
I'm going away for a few weeks, so I won't be able to post as often. I mean, of course, theoretically, what with the internet being very much like a bunch of tubes and not at all like a truck, I should still be able to post every day from where I'm going, but I'll also be in a vacationing and sightseeing state of mind, so I don't expect to be posting very often.
Congress, be good until I get back, or there'll be hell to pay.
There'll be light posting until Congress gets back next week. As Jim Morrison used to say, summer's almost gone.
I feel a little inadequate that I haven't written an affirmation for the anniversary of the Katrina disaster. I guess, at this moment, I'm having trouble gleaning that "hour of sunshine/for a million years of rain" that Stephin Merritt says is worth living for.
Still moving stuff around, and still don't have a reliable internet connection, so light and/or nonexistent posting will continue for a bit.
I think my longer pieces should be paragraphs and my paragraphs should be sentences. When I was a boy, of course, my paragraphs were longer pieces and my longer pieces were, er, much longer pieces. That's what's great about getting older -- you learn to do more with less effort. Which you kind of have to do anyway.
Er, there'll be light posting here during the immediate future -- at least for another day or two, and possibly until Congress gets back from our well-deserved vacation from them.
In the meantime, read the Bob Casey article immediately underneath this post, or poke around in the archives; many action alerts haven't really expired per se, and there's a good bit of useful information in them in any case.
I'm going to be out of town for the next week. I have no idea if I'm going to have time to post -- I've posted while out of town before, but not with any regularity. So tell Congress they better not try any tricks until I get back.
Or, if you feel that's a little too much to expect from Congress, you can also check out the "struggle" links on the left. You can join email action lists from many of these pages -- and if you do, you'll figure out how I write this blog. You might even try to do it yourself, and that would be terrific, because in my ideal world millions of people would be doing what I'm doing, and they'd be doing it better than I.
Alec Mento's *Penny Rants* books chronicle recent American politics, but with an improbable optimism and (per Kirkus Reviews) an "acerbic flair" and "a talent for distilling complex ideas into quickly digestible parts." And you can only get these books at Blunt Instruments; click the photo above (or type blunteye.com into your browser) to get them!