Well THAT Didn’t Take Long

Just a few hours after Sunday’s massacre in a Texas church, The Curmudgeon decided to do a quick Google search to see if the gun apologists had started their usual “it’s not right to politicize this shooting” nonsense.

He was not disappointed.

Breitbart News, home of the angry-and-damn-proud-of-it alt right, published a Twitter comment by a random person that proclaimed

A Twitter user claiming to be a pastor says he is going to “politicize the shit out of the #TEXASSHOOTING.”

 And another:

 Today’s tragedy in #SutherlandSprings is downright gut wrenching. The Left’s politicization of this tragedy is downright disgusting.

And

Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts immediately politicized the shooting,

 And

 A twitter user, @yolowaccordsmom, wasted no time in politicizing the shooting. She tweeted, “Trump probably praying its a Mexican a5 #sutherlandsprings to justify his wall bullshit. Sorry, its [sic] a crazy white guy with a gun.”

While the Daily Caller, tv personality Tucker Carlson’s site, didn’t actually address politicization in an article, the description at the top of the screen of its story describing the shooting declared that

Obama Politicizes Texas Church Massacre

Another Daily Caller story filled the gap, though, with a lead sentence declaring that

Reactions to the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas have broadly consisted of sympathy and calls for prayer for the victims and their families, but some prominent left-wing voices have taken the opportunity to politicize the incident.

Faux News, of course, loves guns almost as much as it loves executives and stars who sexually abuse women and was incensed – incensed! – that third-rate comedian Chelsea Handler had something to say about the subject, giving Handler far, far more attention than anything she says or does could possibly gain on its own by observing on its web site that

Her comments swiftly received criticism on Twitter with many chastising the star for politicizing the event while it is ongoing.

And a random reader’s similar sentiment somehow merited posting in a Faux News article:

The bodies aren’t even cold yet and you are politicizing them. You really have a dark heart. ‪#NastyWoman

This was just from the first few hours after the shooting and from results from a Google search that specifically sought use of some variation of the word “politicize.” More than 24 hours after, when The Curmudgeon finalized and posted this piece? Countless examples of more of the same.

So The Curmudgeon asks again: if not now, when? When will there ever be a better time to talk about the profound damage caused by easy access to guns than at a time when easy access to guns has just caused profound damage?

 

 

 

A Message to Readers

The past two months have seen a fairly large decline in the number of visitors to this site, leaving The Curmudgeon wondering if anyone’s still reading.

After all, if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, did it actually make a sound?

The Curmudgeon realizes there are a lot of reasons this might be happening. People have a lot of choices for stuff to read on the web and they may have been reading this for a long time and decided to move on (in which case you’re not seeing this message).

They may have Curmudgeon fatigue.

He may be repeating himself too much or not sufficiently expanding the subjects about which he writes.

There could be too much Trump, or too much politics.

Or there may be so much bizarre stuff in the news these days that what you read here doesn’t seem that different.

Or maybe there’s enough bad news in the real news that you don’t want to come here for more.

Or The Curmudgeon may have lost his touch. He has long maintained that it’s the subjects about which he chooses to write, not the quality of the writing, that draws visitors and keeps them. Maybe his choosing chops have abandoned him.

WordPress, the host of this (free) site, provides daily data on site visitors: how many people landed on the site and how many pages they viewed.

But what it doesn’t do is count how many people who subscribe to the site and have it delivered to their email box are actually reading.

And we ALL discard stuff that comes to us via email without even looking at it.

Like the daily message The Curmudgeon receives from Shutterfly, the photo development company, because he ordered three pictures from the site in 2008.

So this message is for those of you who subscribe to the site, receive the most recent post via email, and read it on your device of choice.

For the rest of this week, please hit the link that comes with your email message and come onto the site itself for at least long enough for the site to register your presence. That’s only about ten seconds.

This way, The Curmudgeon will have a better idea if there’s anyone there to hear it when he fells another tree.

No, He Didn’t Say That

Oh yes he did.

John Kelly is Agent Orange’s White House chief of staff. A lot of people think he’s one of just a few people holding the federal government together these days, but as The Curmudgeon pointed out recently, Kelly may not be quite the savior some folks think he is.

Kelly only gave credence to the not-such-a-great-guy-after-all sentiment this past week when he went on Fox News and told Laura Ingraham – herself a real piece of work – that “…the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War…”

One has to wonder what kind of compromise Kelly had in mind.

Permit slavery to continue?

Permit slavery to remain in states that already had it but don’t permit it in any additional states?

Force all those who were slaves at the time to remain slaves but their children wouldn’t be slaves so that in 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 years there wouldn’t be any more slaves?

Compromise? COMPROMISE?

The Curmudgeon is SO over General Kelly.

Maybe Not Such a Great Idea

“We believe in a market economy and oppose regulation.”

The state of Pennsylvania is preparing to enter the world of medical marijuana, and to help move the process along it recently invited patients and caregivers to submit comments on how to regulate the medical marijuana industry.

And it immediately occurred to The Curmudgeon that public policy developed by guys like these might not be such a hot idea.

Well Said!

Mrs. Curmudgeon is a lawyer, and occasionally she shares with her husband something of interest from her work and her profession. One of her partners shared with her one of the federal court opinions blocking President Trump’s obnoxious travel ban order, and as the partner wrote in the email in which she shared it, the opening paragraph is a doozy. Here it is:

The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution, as the Supreme Court declared in Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2, 120 (1866), remains “a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace.” And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another. Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation. Therefore, for the reasons that follow, we affirm in substantial part the district court’s issuance of a nationwide preliminary injunction as to Section 2(c) of the challenged Executive Order. 

A doozy indeed!

It Cost HOW MUCH?

While walking the dog one night last week, Mrs. Curmudgeon asked her husband if he had any money on him. This request was without precedent: in more than two-and-a-half years of walking the dog together in the evening, neither The Curmudgeon nor his wife had ever made an unplanned stop at a local store. Well, rules are made to be broken, and on this particular evening Mrs. Curmudgeon said she had a sudden urge for a spiced pumpkin latte from the neighborhood Starbucks.

Mrs. C. loves her pumpkin.

When the couple came to the store The Curmudgeon handed his wife a five-dollar bill and jokingly asked if it would be enough; while The Curmudgeon doesn’t drink coffee, Starbucks’ exorbitant prices are legendary. Mrs. Curmudgeon laughed as she took the money; her husband made a pointed remark about expecting the change when she returned.   Mrs. Curmudgeon handed the leash to her husband, which was a big deal; The Curmudgeon normally only holds the leash when Mrs. Curmudgeon is cleaning up the dog’s… business.

So The Curmudgeon was waiting outside the store, trying unsuccessfully to teach the dog to sit, when Mrs. Curmudgeon came bounding through the door – well, as close as she comes to bounding. Mrs. Curmudgeon is many things but a bounder she is not.

“I need eighteen cents,” she exclaimed. The Curmudgeon reached into his pocket and retrieved a quarter.

A minute later Mrs. Curmudgeon returned, with an explanation:

“Almond milk costs thirty cents extra.”

As far as The Curmudgeon is concerned, that was no explanation at all.

A CUP OF COFFEE AT STARBUCKS COST $5.18!!!

Makes perfect sense, right?

And it wasn’t even a big cup of coffee, either: it was a “tall” – which, in the bizarro world of Starbucks, means small.

And the rest of the way home The Curmudgeon kept shaking his head and saying

A CUP OF COFFEE AT STARBUCKS COST $5.18!!!

He doesn’t understand how or why you people tolerate that, but he knows the Starbucks people are getting a pretty big laugh at your expense.

And on that particular evening, at The Curmudgeon’s expense as well.

Why is It…

…that Republicans believe Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a representative of the Russian government in response to a promise of negative information about Hillary Clinton was absolutely justifiable and beyond reproach yet insist that Hillary Clinton’s campaign did something wrong by paying for legitimate research into negative information about Donald Trump?

Making Environmental War on the American People

No one’s saying that global warming – “climate change” is now apparently the polite term for it – spawned the major hurricanes we’ve had this season. What they are suggesting, though, is that the waters of the Caribbean are now warmer than they were just a few years ago and that this feeds hurricanes and makes them more powerful and more dangerous.

The evidence of global warming is clear and irrefutable – clear and irrefutable, that is, to most thinking people. “Most thinking people,” alas, does not include the president of the United States and many Republican members of Congress, who continue to insist that this is a figment of someone’s imagination.

Like the Chinese. Seriously, that’s what some Republicans say: that climate change/global warming is a fantasy fabricated by the Chinese.

The New Yorker recently offered an interesting perspective on this administration’s and this Congress’s attitude toward global warming/climate change – and a description of some of the things they’ve done, and are doing, based on their sadly mistaken belief. (This comes directly from a longer New Yorker piece; find the entire piece here.   You should consider picking up a copy of the New Yorker sometime.)

As misguided as the Bush Administration was about climate change, Donald Trump has taken willful ignorance to a whole new level. The President has called climate change an “expensive hoax dreamed up by the Chinese. After much posturing, he announced in June that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. With less fanfare, he has rolled back Obama Administration regulations limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from both old and new power plants and from oil and gas wells. (Regarding the wells, a federal appeals court recently ruled against the White House, saying that it could not simply suspend the regulations.) Trump also revoked a 2013 executive order directing federal agencies to prepare for the impacts of warming and tossed out a plan, issued the same year, that outlined steps that the U.S. would take to combat climate change.

 Then, just ten days before Harvey hit, the President rescinded a 2015 executive order requiring public-infrastructure projects in flood-prone areas to be designed with sea-level rise in mind. This move is likely to have particularly unfortunate consequences for Houston, a city with no zoning code, where thousands of buildings constructed on floodplains but lacking flood insurance are now filled with soggy debris. Last Monday, as rainfall totals in Houston were topping forty inches, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress that he was planning to eliminate his department’s special envoy for climate change.

 Many members of Congress share Trump’s climate-change delusions, especially in the Texas delegation. Lamar Smith, a Republican who represents parts of San Antonio, chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Smith has spent the better part of his career harassing climate scientists, and in a recent op-ed for the Daily Signal, a Web site sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation, he celebrated the effects of global warming, arguing that they were producing “beneficial changes to the earth’s geography.” At a town-hall meeting in April, Joe Barton, a Republican who represents parts of Fort Worth and is the vice-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, repeated the old denier canard that clouds are the cause of climate change. And, in June, House Republicans introduced a bill to prevent federal agencies such as the Department of Energy from considering the societal costs of carbon pollution when fashioning regulations. Among the co-sponsors were three Texas representatives.

 These are NOT people who should be permitted to play with sharp objects, let alone make the laws under which we live.

 

Republicans as the Party of Fiscal Responsibility and Family Values

Well, maybe in 49 of the states but certainly not in Pennsylvania.

Although the state has a Democratic governor, both chambers of its legislature have large Republican majorities, including a veto-proof majority in the senate.

Which means that in Pennsylvania, Republicans pretty much call the shots.

So Republicans passed a budget in late June. The state’s constitutional budget deadline is June 30.

So they did their job, right?

Well, not quite.

It turns out that they passed a spending plan but neglected to pass legislation to raise enough money to pay for the $32 billion worth of spending they approved.

Because Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

And then they dallied for four months over that spending plan.

Because Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

During which the state had to borrow money to pay its bills.

And to pay for things like health care for kids.

Because Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

Despite this, they took a six-week vacation during which the state still didn’t have a revenue plan and still wasn’t raising enough money to pay for the $32 billion in spending they approved.

Because Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

And then last week they finally – finally! – passed a revenue plan.

That didn’t cut any more state spending.

Because Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

And that didn’t call for any new or increased taxes.

Because Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

And that called for borrowing $1.5 billion to cover ordinary operating expenses.

Because Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

Looking like an elephant but acting more like jackasses

And called for generating an estimated $200 million in new tax revenue by expanding legal gambling in the state.

Because Republicans are the party of family values and nothing says “family values” quite like making it in the state’s financial interest for working-class people to fritter away their paychecks at slot machines and video poker terminals.

Yes, Pennsylvania’s Republicans really embody everything that has made the Republican party great again.

At the expense of the people they were elected to serve.

Say What?

The Curmudgeon nearly ran his car off the road last weekend when he heard a radio ad for Beautyrest mattresses that declared that the product would give purchasers…

…are you ready for this?

It’s a mattress, not a piece of technology

High-performance sleep!

Seriously: they boasted that the Beautyrest would lead to…

High-performance sleep.

Geez:  talk about hyperbole.