Colin Powell, 1937 – 2021

I was meaning to leave poor Colin Powell alone today — and all future days, too — but I am just the teensiest bit weary of the continuous eulogizing that’s been going on all day.

Photo: Brittanica.com

Powell was a young man who — like far too many of our young men — thought that the best way to solve a problem was by violence. How else do you explain his love for the military? And no matter how much his friends declare him a man of peace, a man who “understood that war was a last resort,” he spent his life in wars in various places around the world, as a young officer and as a four-star general, all of them of extremely dubious value to his country, unless you count gratuitous ass-kicking as “value.”

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The Boys in the Band

Last evening I went out to see The Emperors, one of my favorite local bands.

I saw them for the first time at a high school dance in 1963. I was a new Californian, awkward and shy. I was aware that there was such a thing as dance steps, but I didn’t know any of them. I’m not sure why I went to that dance, but looking back I think I must have been cajoled into it by some friends who had my best interest at heart and thought it would do me good to get out of my shell.

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American Rescue Plan vs. GOP Tax Giveaway of 2017

You may be hearing a lot of Republican bullshit

…about how President Biden’s about-to-be approved American Rescue Plan is being “shoved down the throat” of the helpless American taxpayer, who of course is totally against its many wasteful elements. But how does it stack up against the Trump Tax Giveaway Act of 2017, which was passed with no negotiation and no Democratic votes? Well, both bills cost us about the same amount – 1.9 trillion dollars. Other than that, if we put them side by side it looks like this:

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There’s More to Biden’s Covid Bill Than the Price Tag

Image swiped from somebody’s Facebook page

If you watch television, read the paper or listen to the news on the radio

…you could be forgiven if you thought there was absolutely nothing to know about President Biden’s covid relief bill other than how much it’s going to cost. One point nine trillion dollars! That’s almost two trillion dollars! So expensive! Every single news account I’ve heard or read for the past month has called it “President Biden’s one point nine trillion dollar covid relief package, emphasizing “trillion” every time. No one calls it “The American Rescue Plan,” which is its name, after all.

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In the Name of Love

Mary Wilson, a former member of The Supremes, is escorted after singing the national anthem in Detroit on April 4, 2019.
Photo: Carlos Osorio / AP

Today a loving goodbye to Ms. Mary Wilson, who has died at the age of 76.

I’ve been hearing snippets of her work with The Supremes all day, and it reminded me again the importance of the Motown contribution to the music so many millions of us grew up with. It was, as they said, “The Sound of Young America. Wilson “only” sang backup behind Diana Ross, but she did it perfectly, with poise and grace as the group cranked out hit after hit in the 60s and 70s. That’s her in the foreground of the thumbnail below, although in the video she’s on the right (Diana’s left). We miss you already, Mary.

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GOP Prefers Fewer Voters

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the voting booth, Republicans across the nation are busy writing new laws to make it harder to vote. They did well in many state elections this past November, but they lost control of the Senate, gained seats but remain a minority in the House, and lost the White House to Joe Biden.

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Catherine’s Throne

The sun came out the other day,

so I thought I’d sit in the patio and read my Jack Reacher book. I got out a folding chair, put a towel over it so I wouldn’t have to clean it up before sitting in it, and settled in for a few thrilling chapters of The Sentinel. When my first cup of coffee ran out I went inside to get a refill, and in the few short minutes I was gone, Catherine the Great (Cat for short) decreed that the chair was now her throne, and I was no longer allowed to sit on it. As you can see, she means business.

Photo: Larry Jones, 2021

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Trump’s Lawyers Quit Him

“Butch Bowers” sounds like the name of the bully in an Our Gang comedy.

Photograph: Mary Ann Chastain/AP

But by all accounts he is, in fact, a smart, experienced ultra-competent trial lawyer who works at Miller Law Group, a super respectable law firm. So after years of crackpot sycophant attorneys like Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell and Lin Wood, Donald Trump finally hired excellent counsel for his upcoming (second) impeachment trial.

Except they’ve apparently all quit, days before they are supposed to file statements with the United States Senate.

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Protesters vs. Looters

There are four distinct groups out on the streets these days in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd: Cops, journalists, peaceful protesters and troublemakers. The protesters are telling us they are fed up with systemic racism and they want it to stop, and the troublemakers are seeing the protests as an opportunity to steal stuff, and have fun by smashing things.

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Clueless in Washington

As the coronavirus spreads worldwide it is clear Donald Trump is the biggest threat to the health and well-being of Americans. He began by not taking action and hiding the facts from us while U.S. intelligence agencies were warning him in January that China had a virus problem. Once he was forced to acknowledge the pandemic he went on TV to say that it was more or less just “the flu,” downplaying it for a few weeks. When experts at NIH and CDC told him of the imminent danger, he finally began to admit publicly that it really was a deadly problem and everyone had to stay home and take hygiene precautions or else.

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