The various “words of the year” as proclaimed by august wordsmiths, such as the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, are woefully inadequate for the 2017 we just suffered through. Youthquake? Please! There’s a fake word, signifying nothing, if I ever saw one. No, the only word of the year for me is Trumpus. It is the first cousin of rumpus. Old timey wise guys used to greet one another with the phrase, “What’s the rumpus?” They wanted to know what the latest uproar was in the underworld, who shot whom, that sort of gangsta gossip.
Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) to crack down on extreme animal cruelty, taking a critical step towards enactment of the first general federal animal cruelty law. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, if approved by the House of Representatives, would prohibit malicious animal cruelty that occurs in interstate commerce or on federal property, providing federal enforcement authority to supplement state anti-cruelty frameworks.
When you think of national parks, you probably think about vast stretches of green spaces where the daily routines of nature play out unaltered by human activities. But America also has “blue parks” to protect very special areas of our ocean, and the newest is off the coast of New England. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument —the first monument of its kind off the east coast of the U.S.— has canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and mountains higher than anything east of the Rockies that rise from the deep ocean floor
As an Ahmadiyya Muslim American, I’m appalled at President Trump’s announcement of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The first wrong move — President Trump said: “I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” This statement reminds me of Jesus’ warning to beware of wolves in sheeps’ clothing.
We are now officially a Kleptocracy (from Greek κλέπτης kléptēs, “thief”, κλέπτω kléptō, “I steal”, and -κρατία -kratía from κράτος krátos, “power, rule”): A government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources in order to extend their personal wealth and political power on behalf of the elite. It is systematic, state-sanctioned corruption just like Putin and Russia’s oligarchs; a criminal racket instead of a legitimate provider of public services.
I was surprised when our president pardoned those two turkeys, Wishbone and Drumstick, right before Thanksgiving. For starters, where were Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn? And why didn’t he wring their necks (the turkeys)? That would have been the exact opposite of what former president Barack Obama did a year ago — and everybody knows that “Must Undo Obama” is the zombie-like mantra of the present administration. Predicting the next Trump-roar is difficult, much less his shenanigans for an entire new year, but predict we must:
Our Bill of Rights is one of the greatest documents ever written. We have the finished document, but we know so little about the wise discussion that occurred among the founding fathers that led to the final product. Until now! Here is the actual transcript, just discovered during some housecleaning and renovation of Founder’s Hall at the College of William and Mary. It is dated January 15, 1790, a few months after James Madison wrote the first draft of these first ten amendments.
The Republican Party is trying madly to lower taxes for its base. For coal miners and factory workers and for you and me, you’re guessing.
“Don’t be silly,” as my grandmother used to say. No, they are scrambling to slash taxes on the already too richly redundantly rich for words.
Sure, you and I might get a pittance — that is, if they don’t snatch away federal tax deductions for our mortgage interest, sky-high medical bills, student loan interest, state and local taxes, our personal exemption; or if they don’t lower our 401K contribution limits and eviscerate the Affordable Care Act.
Undergraduate and graduate students across Connecticut and the country should be marching in protest against the proposed new tax bill that will repeal numerous education deductions and credits and will tax graduate students. We need our next generation to be educated — not kept out of all educational opportunities as this proposal surely will cause. This proposed bill makes taxable the value of the tuition and other benefits universities give to their graduate teaching and research assistants. Ditto for education benefits offered by employers to their workers.
Last week, without comment, the White House published a study officially titled the Climate Science Special Report. Contrary to many statements and positions articulated by President Trump, members of his Cabinet, his surrogates and his supporters, the report clearly states that Earth’s climate is changing, and “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”
Divisiveness is a weapon of mass destruction. It destroys families, communities, and countries. It’s a plague. It sickens, weakens, and often kills its infected hosts who refuse to realize, until its too late, that their ignorant assumptions of someone or something not of their tribe — the other, the stranger, the religion, or the ideology — can lead to mass social destruction if we put fear and hatred reflexively ahead of listening and understanding.
Chris Murphy cannot be trusted, here or abroad, because he puts his own political interests ahead of America. The freshmen Senator from Connecticut needs a chaperone. Chris Murphy just traveled alone to Estonia and Ukraine – two NATO allies. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) could not make the trip. Unfortunately Sen. Murphy took his partisan baggage with him and chose not to stand up for American interests but instead he openly embraced criticism of our country and policies. Standing up for America is not in Chris Murphy’s DNA.