Lame Ducks are reflected in the mirrors of many politicians right now. They can either hobble out of office or attempt a last hurrah.
's main lame duck efforts focus on securing his signature accomplishments before our president-elect is sworn in on Jan 20, 2017. He also has a long pardon list to review including a request by military deserter,
. Our US Congress is laying low during this "LD" session while it looks forward to majority rule in the House, Senate and White House "next semester." One issue that was promised from this "LD" Congress was support for the Flint Water Crisis. We'll see if it gets included but bravo to Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters for pressuring their peers. Meanwhile our Michigan (Republican-led) "LD" Congress isn't sweating bullets either as they too will control Lansing during the next session. Major Note: The national and statewide Democratic party truly needs a major overhaul. But back to "LD" issues, there are 2 bills taking shape in Lansing right now that concern me.
1. The Voter ID amendment
Michigan voters to show their photo ID before voting or they won't be able to cast their ballot. The bill does have a provision to help the indigent obtain free ID's, but the big caveat is that voter fraud is a republican perpetuated myth to squelch turnout and requiring an ID will most definitely limit many from voting. For an actuate poll of citizenry, voting should be made easier not more cumbersome. This Voter ID bill will require you to present your photo ID when voting and will eliminate the current option to sign a waiver and present your ID at a later date. For perspective, of the just under 4 million Michigan votes cast in this past election, just over 18,000 didn't have their IDs and had to sign an affidavit to vote. Those 18,000 people wouldn't be able to vote if this bill passes. Only 7 over States have such stringent laws. The bill is waiting for Snyder's signature. Now to add hypocrisy to this situation. The judge halting our Michigan voter recount stated "there was no evidence of such violations" of voter fraud. Really...? Then what' the reason for this Voter ID Bill.
2. The Plastic Bags Bill
would null and void local ordinances like Ann Arbor's plastic bag ban taking control away from the county government's ability to ban or charge fees for plastic bag usage. This bill is also awaiting Gov. Snyder's blessing.
There are others bills in the works that deal with Wolf Hunting, Teacher Benefits, Energy Efficiency and much more. Here is the full list:
It is an understatement to say we are over-inundated (redundant to make a point) with News but the biggest problem we now face is determining which it Fact and which is Fiction.
Fake News is flooding our senses and just like crying wolf, these BS man-made conspiracy theories make it even harder to disseminate real news. This past weekend a man drove hours to a DC Pizza joint with a shotgun because he believed it was a Child Trafficking Front perpetrated by Hillary Clinton. These BS stories are published in BS news sources that cleaverly disguise themselves to look real (but they aren't), like Breitbart,
Realnewsrightnow.com, Christiantimes.com, thebostontribune.com and 100s of others. Some sites are just satirical but others are downright dangerous. For expample, the site infowars.com claimed Sandy Hook was a hoax. Fact checking and deciphering our news intake could be a full time job but getting to the truth could heal the health of our humanity. By the way, our presidnet-elect gets most of his news from Breitbart which was just reprimanded by the reputable Weather Channel for using their videos in fake anti-climate change stories.
Just as Obama attempted to heal the deep wounds of Hiroshima with his (and our first US president's) visit there, Japan's prime minister
Shinzo Abe will be the first Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor during the 75th year anniversary. Wednesday marked
"the date that will live in infamy"
Franklin D. Roosevelt
described. FDR dictated his famous speech in a matter of minutes while his secretary typed it up. A much longer speech was provided by his staff but he chose to use his hand-edited 6 1/2 minute speech that took our nation from isolationist statues to war to military strength. Bravo to the men and women of the "Greatest Generation", those who grew up during the Depression and WWII.
Ashes to Ashes
36 people lost their lives at the Ghost Ship Collective party last weekend in Oakland, CA. The Ghost Ship Collective was a subpar alternative living environment attractive to those who live on the fringe of conventionality. This warehouse was subdivided by landlord
Derick Almena into living spaces and artist studios but without city safety regulators oversight. Derick was certainly an eccentric person who many admired and others feared. He is certainly derelict of protecting his tenants and some form of criminal charges will be in his future. Prayer and thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
Message of Unity
There is "beauty in us all" and
poignantly displays this in their new ad that is really a Public Service Announcement since their logo is subtle but their message of unity is strong. I've seen the condensed version on TV but here is the extended one (still only a minute and half) with voice-over for more emphasis on inclusiveness and humanity, plus the tune is quite catchy. Last check it had 500,000 clicks though it deserves 50 million.
Bravo and BS
Bravo to Israel
Bravo to the Fed
Bravo to the Federal Government on their decision to prevent the North Dakota pipeline's current route which would evade sacred land and potentially pollute drinking water. Of course the Pipeline company is protesting this action and has filed a request to continue the work and complains the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to halt the project was based on political pressure. This issue may take months and $Millions to settle but in the meantime the protesters continue to camp out in the North Dakota blizzard winter.
Bravo to POTUS
Not that we are whoa-less about our economy. There are many in this country who are still deep in economic despair. However, bravo to President Obama for relinquishing the reins (to his successor) of a much stronger and healthier economy than he was given.
Bravo to Evan
BS to Ohio
legislators who have just passed a bill to ban abortions after the detection of a
which usually occurs around 6 weeks. Many women don't even know they are pregnant hence eliminating the
to terminate a pregnancy (even for rape or incest). Boldness to pass this bill was based on the direction of our new president-elect and his future Supreme Court selection. Conservatives feel they will have an ally on the SPOTUS by next year to uphold this women's infringement action. Pro-life
has ten days to veto this bill before it becomes law.
And while on the topic, BS to
Texas for their new law to require burials or cremations for fetal remains. This just adds to Texas' already draconian anti-women laws.
BS to DT
Arts and Entertainment
Rolling Stone Mag picked their 20 favorite films of 2106. We just saw #2
I absolutely LOVE this song by
Corinne Bailey Rae
and this rendition on last week's
Prairie Home Companion
is sure to please your eardrums. I was an early fan of Garrison Keillor's fictional Lake Wobegon, but now that he has passed the baton to the young hip
Chris Thile, the show has taken on a fresh appeal. This weekend's broadcast will feature the brilliant banjo pickin of
Steve Martin and the smooth string caressing of
Yo Yo Ma. But in the meantime, hope you enjoy Corinne's catchy tune: "Put Your Records On"
Wishing you and your family
a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom