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Showing posts from May, 2023

Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII

An Inherently Problematic Republican

 Josh Hawley is telling American men that their masculinity is defined by the left as “inherently problematic.” Now, ain’t that a hoot ! As a woman, I can speak to the idea of one’s sex being “inherently problematic.”  Like being paid less than a man or being judged by a potential employer in terms of my child-bearing years.  Then, there’s the whole concept of women as breeders and women whose bodies don’t belong to them but to the politicians in their district.   And we could go throughout the history of women from Eve (if you’re a believer) all the way to the passage of the ERA - oh wait, it hasn’t passed yet.  And there’s the idea of women being subservient to their fathers and husbands, not being able to own property, being passed over for top positions (just ask Queen Elizabeth I), and that’s before we ever get to the ridicule, harassment, and number of times we women have been told “good girls don’t do that.” No, Josh Hawley, masculinity isn’t “inherently problematic,” but femini

American Exceptionalism - Crisis By Choice

Twenty minutes of the evening news or a quick scan of your phone’s news feed reveals 2023 as a year of global disasters. And it’s only May. Ukraine continues to be the victim of a senseless war, with its people dealing with death, starvation, lack of water, and an infrastructure that has been shattered by Putin. Haiti and Burkina Faso face gang and vigilante violence due to instability in their country’s government. Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan are facing food shortages and massive hunger because of climate change, excessive drought, and civil conflict. This is only a partial list of the top 20 countries in crisis that the International Rescue Committee compiles each year. Many other countries around the globe are dealing with hunger, lack of health care, poor government control, drought, and civil war - all brought about by factors out of citizens’ hands. But here in America, we make our own disasters. Because of the calamitous and ignorant leadership from the likes of Marjorie Ta

November Stakes - Abortion and Reproductive Rights

So why is the November 2023 Virginia General Assembly election vitally important ?  These Virginia rights and issues are at immediate risk if the Republicans take over the General Assembly in November 2023: Abortion Voting rights LGBTQ rights Gun control The clean energy economy Many others Let’s talk about abortion and reproductive rights today. Do you remember when candidate for Governor Glenn Youngkin refused to state his position on abortion because (as he was caught on tape saying) he wanted to deceive the voting public so he could appear more moderate and hide his true abortion agenda ?  Soon, we found out the truth about his position when he said he would sign any ban that comes across his desk.  Now, he states that he would sign a 15 week ban if the Republicans take over the General Assembly in November 2023. Should we believe him or is he playing us again with his suggestion of a “moderate” 15 weeks plan ? There have been numerous abortion restrictions passed or proposed by

Vote, and put out the brushfires

 'It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate and tireless minority keen on setting brushfires in the minds of the people’ - Samuel Adams 1775. Think about that. Americans pride themselves on the concept of majority rules.  That’s the way we elected student government in high school, and my family’s vacations were often decided by whichever destination received the most votes by us kids.  After years of bickering, we just decided to change roofs in my neighborhood because the majority wanted something different.   It’s the mantra we’ve all grown up with:  majority rules.  We knew it to be so in our personal lives, and thought it so as well in the elections for local, state, and national government.  Majorities still elect senators and governors, even though we’ve know for decades that the electoral college ruined the idea of majority vote for presidential elections, seen as recently as 2016.   But we kind of thought that state and local elections, where laws really

Oliver Twist 2023 - Part 3

Parts  One  and Two of this series dealt with the history of child labor in America and what has changed over the past 200 years.  ### My sisters and I worked from the time we hit pre-teen until we retired.  We always wanted things that our family budget couldn’t cover, so making my own money was the way I paid for my first pair of contacts, a new winter coat that I really didn’t need, or a haircut from a professional rather than my mother.  Our jobs covered the spectrum:  babysitting, hospital aide, salesperson, office assistant, waitressing.  These jobs taught us to handle money, work with people, and manage time.  These skills were a keystone to my somewhat successful life.  Nobody argues that children benefit from work experience, as long as it is overseen by parents, state law, and decent employers.   So why are laws that protect children in the workforce changing in 2023, particularly in Republican states ? Since Part 2 of this series, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds stated that she

When In Doubt, Cheat !

 When I was a little one, I was taught to not lie and not cheat.   Thus, I did not cheat at tiddly winks, checkers, chess, basketball, school, college, graduate school, my CV, my career and so on.  Am I perfect ?  Hardly. So how is cheating defined ? To act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination. or Cheating generally describes various actions designed to subvert rules in order to obtain unfair advantages. This includes acts of bribery, cronyism and nepotism in any situation where individuals are given preference using inappropriate criteria.  The rules infringed may be explicit, or they may be from an unwritten code of conduct based on morality, ethics or custom, making the identification of cheating conduct a potentially subjective process. Lying and hypocrisy are generally considered separate acts and not considered part of cheating but cheating, lying, and hypocrisy often occur together. Consider these examples: Voting Rights Chea

Oliver Twist 2023 - Part 2

  Part One of this series dealt with the history of child labor in America.  Now let’s see what’s changed over the past 200 years.  To be clear, children have always provided a cheap source of labor for industry and agriculture.  Poverty has always provided a plentiful supply of children who need to eat.  And employers have always been more than happy to exploit both. Now, it seems, so is the Republican Party.  If you’ve been paying attention to state houses across the country, particularly in red states, then you know that child labor  laws and regulations are being rolled back under the guise of fewer federal regulations are better and more freedom for potential workers.   This is happening on the heels of the US Department of Labor’s alert in July that child labor violations had increased by 69% since 2018.  And, according to the Washington Post , “between 2018 and 2022, federal regulators opened cases for 4,144 child labor violations covering 15,462 youth workers.”  In addition, t

Picking Winners, Picking Losers

 An often-repeated bromide in the tape deck of Republican rhetoric is that taxpayers’ money should not subsidize businesses in the private sector. “The government shouldn’t pick winners and losers,” reads the banner from a Washington Post article lamenting the plight of small suppliers disastrously dependent on a failed manufacturer that was federally subsidized. Of course, it is certainly correct to caution that any tax-subsidized business can fail. In some cases, it’s fair to argue that state or federal subsidies can confer an unfair advantage over non-subsidized competitors.  However, as with most bromides, this Republican mantra reeks of hypocrisy. The truth is that Republican lawmakers shunt taxpayers’ money into private biz all the time, and many of these partnerships turn out to be real losers.    For example, the Texas legislature took great pains years ago to exempt that state’s electrical production from national regulation by refusing to accept federal monies that would sub