Time to Commit the Twitter Twit

Franklin, Contributor

For all the blistering criticism facing the Facebook, they finally did something laudable this last week when they banned dangerous morons like Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Louis Farrakhan, and a few other deplorables from their social media site.  Of course, Trump, aka Twitler, decided that the best use of his presidential executive time on a Saturday morning was to defend these hate-mongering, anti-Semitic, conspiracy-loving shitheads by claiming that they were the victims of unwarranted censorship. He went on to talk about how social media was biased against conservatives… Well, if that’s whose speech conservatives choose to cherish, then maybe there is some bias?

Well, alt-right dumbasses, that’s correct! Social media is, indeed, biased against people who promote hate speech and violence. In fact, it’s a perverse modern miracle that Trump’s even allowed to tweet out his banal, hate-filled bullshit when he ought to be, well, doing his job! That’s true, even if half of Twitler’s Twitter followers are Russian bots or Rudy Giulliani using multiple assumed identities.

As a Canine-American, I have more dignity, honor, and self-respect when I secretly eat cat turds out of the litterbox than when Trump Twitler crazy tweets at all hours from his gaudy gilded commode. Ooops- did I say that out loud?

I mean, the truly sad part is that this imbecile currently has a 46% approval rating and that fully a third of Americans thinks he’s doing a bang-up job. Of course, these same people thought Duck Dynasty and Honey-Boo were national treasures and wholeheartedly believe professional wrestling is real. They also think Betsy DeVos put the ‘y’ in education. They delight in ignorance, cruelty, and selfishness. Sadly, they require saving from themselves.

Look, it’s time to commit the Twitter twit. Trump isn’t making America great again, he’s lining his pockets and pissing on every last thing we hold dear in this country. It’s not just the documented ten thousand lies, it’s his blatant obstruction of justice, money laundering, and penchant for putting self-serving dipshits in charge of government agencies whose sole objectives are chaos and destruction. Trump needs to be committed to a penal or mental health facility. It’s not just his perpetual demeaning of the presidency or obviously criminal acts, it’s his unrelenting bigotry and peevish partisanship that’s turning America into a third-world autocracy.

Trump has triggered a constitutional crisis by ignoring Congressional subpoenas and illegally resisting any type of oversight or accountability. His Republican sycophants are willing accomplices and, they too, do not deserve the offices they hold. It’s time to hold Trump accountable on a very short leash. To commit to voting him out of office or committing him to a place where he’ll feel comfortable wearing his natural color, orange.

He has no business being in the White House when he exhibits conduct that’s suited for the Big House. Folks, it’s only going to get worse as he remains in the Oval Office. We’ve got to ensure the investigations continue, and more importantly, that we vote his sorry ass out in 2020, if he’s not already facing impeachment.

Our government works when we, the people (and enlightened Canine-Americans), hold it accountable. I mean, we saw this coming when we found out that there’d be no dog in the White House. I don’t think it’s because he didn’t want one, I think it’s because dogs have good sense about people and no dog wanted to be around him. It’s just a theory.

So, let’s quit chasing our tails and let’s wake up from our national nightmare. Americans are what make America great- in all their wonderful diversity and their commitment to authentic American values.

Trump and his ilk have no values and no conscience. It’s time to commit the twit.

Hurricane Crazies- A Short Story by Bernie Morgan

Bernie Morgan, Contributor

The day of the “big” hurricane, the one we had always feared, was upon us. She was ‘a comin!! My in-laws, plus granny, descended on my house like a herd of migrant workers. The next thing I knew, granny was filling every bottle in the house with water; I’m not kidding – we had to clear a path to get from the kitchen to the living room. Next, she scrubbed the tub and filled it, too.  Oh, well – nobody was much interested in taking a bath anyway; plus, if this baby was as big as they said she was, we were all going to get plenty wet anyway. Suddenly, my mother-in-law started dragging blankets out of the linen closet – at first, I thought it was to pad the area where the sliding glass doors were (if you live in Florida, sliding glass doors are a must-have) but, no, she was settling in on the couch and my father-in-law was wrapping himself up and getting comfy on my loveseat. (Did I mention that we were in FLORIDA where blankets are only for show?  – you never take them out and actually use them.) About that time, my father-in-law yelled: “When are we going to eat?” Feeling the need to escape,  I ran into the dining room – that’s when  I heard a loud thumping noise against our  bay window – were we being bombarded by huge limbs from those high winds we were told were headed our way? NO, it was our stupid horse banging his head against the glass – even he wanted in!! I had a few words with him and then I shut the drapes. I yelled to my husband, “Who let the damn horse out – let me guess.” He said he had read in a book that that is exactly what you should do in a situation like this – let the animal run free.  I knew I was losing “it” so I took off for the family room (big mistake) where I came upon one of our two teenagers – the female one. She was walking around in short shorts and was barefooted (you can get away with that 24/7 in Florida, even when a hurricane is coming). She was pouting because we wouldn’t let her use the phone while it was lightning, and she said she was bored. I said, “Get me a gun so I can kill myself.” About then, I heard a loud thumping at the front door. I looked through the peep hole and, you guessed it – it was “the horse” only this time I was looking at his rear end (always a pleasant sight.) Upon closer inspection,  I realized that he was making a deposit, if you know what I mean. I yelled out, “Did you let the damn pig out so he could run free, too? I knew by the look on my husband’s face that, yes, he had. I was in a dad gum loony bin. I took off for my son’s room where I found him sprawled out on his king-sized waterbed (people are really into water down there) reading a surfing magazine, snacking and listening to a mellow Bob Marley song. Always Mr. Cool, he looked up and said, “What’s up, ma?” I said, “Move over and hand me the chips – there’s a bunch of crazies in the house.”

A Cable from The TWENTYTWENTYNEWS.COM Bunker

It’s been a hot second since we’ve really talked. Like most folks, the staff here at twentytwentynews.com has been mildly nauseous since Trump took office and has seriously contemplated professional day-drinking as a viable career change. We’re not too sure what to think about the score of Democrats running in the primary or about how the investigations will be play out to finally nail the Teflon Orange Don to a big, beautiful wall.  We’ve got some diverse options to choose from and even a few septuagenarian white guys. Yet, we seem to be overwhelmed with a virulent type of political PTSD and feeling triggered.

At our last staff meeting, Franklin suggested that twentytwenty should recruit more writers and continue to provide even more creative and dynamic liberal content. He then chased his own tail in a dervish circle for ten minutes before collapsing and napping until he heard his kibble hit the bowl.  These things happen when your editor is a Canine-American… hey, don’t misinterpret that…

Soon, we’re planning to launch our new podcast which was inspired by the “All That’s Left” radio show which aired weekly for three hours live on conservative talk radio, WVNN, from February 2016 to February 2017. It starred Alabama’s Most Hated Liberal Voice, Clete Wetli. Although surrounded by right-wing lunacy, “All That’s Left” bravely took on the mindless Trump sycophants who called in to the show. The show caused quite a stir in Northern Alabama. Conservatives everywhere broke out in hives and couldn’t even sleep for fear of being “Woke”. More importantly, it proved that even on a red-meat, conspiracy-obsessed, fact-free, and propaganda infused radio hellscape, that there was an enthusiastic audience for insightful and entertaining liberal talk. The show’s been off the air for two years and people still remember Conservative Clown of the Week and You Gotta Love a Liberal.

So, stay tuned. Twentytwentynews is about to relaunch “All That’s Left” as a podcast! It’s going to be different, edgy, and unrestrained. Big changes have been made to the show and it promises to be better than ever!

At Twentytwenty we’re renewing our focus on articulating sound liberal opinion and messaging on issues that most affect you. It’s time for strong liberal voices to be heard and for that message to get out to voters. For too long, conservatives have had a stranglehold on media in deep red states like Alabama. This is why twentytwentynews keeps daring to take a loud, courageous stand. Liberal voices matter, and we will continue to fight for what we believe in.

With so many candidates in the primary, it’s easy for the overall message to get lost. Democrats proudly stand for working people. Democrats want a responsible, ethical government that puts the interests of the American people first. Democrats work tirelessly to ensure that all Americans have equal rights and equal opportunities under the law. We are the party of the people, in all their wonderful diversity.

Our messaging must come from the heart and share the personal, gripping stories of real people. For too long, we’ve stayed mired in the weeds of over-analysis, pedantic explanation, and pithy punditry. We need to frame our issues clearly, concisely, and passionately.  We get beat by morons because our messaging gets diffused and distorted.

So, as we take a deep breath before the impending political battle, we will stay focused on our liberal platform and progressive agenda. We will advocate sound policy and legislation that works for all Americans, not just a privileged few. We must gain control of our country again and put the conservative extremist voices on the fringe, where they truly belong. Stay tuned to twentytwentynews.com on the web and on social media.  I’m heading back to the secret underground bunker with Franklin and Jerry Waters- we’re about to take a beef jerky and Skittles break before resuming our heated discussion regarding world domination by liberals. Message us if you have a piece you’d like to see published. Raise your voice and keep your pencils sharp. Carpe Diem!

Devin Nunes: Poster boy for Congressional impotence

Clete Wetli, Contributor

California Congressman Devin Nunes is up to his old tired tricks again. He’s calling for an investigation into the investigators of the Trump/Russia probe in yet another vain and sycophantic attempt to distract the American people from the fact that an incompetent lying grifter resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Without evidence, he’s suggesting that the investigation into Trump’s Russian ties was a partisan ploy to spy on him. He wants us to forget all the lies and financial ties. He wants us to be ok with Jared’s obsession with back channels and Trump’s blatant laundering of Russian money.

It’s sad. It’s atrocious. Fucking pathetic, actually.

Wasn’t Nunes the guy who wasted tons of money investigating Benghazi ad nauseum? Wasn’t Nunes the guy who went off the rails early in the Trump investigation by holding a fact-free press conference after secretly meeting with White House officials and inappropriately disclosing classified information which led to an ethics investigation and his recusal as Chair of the Intelligence Committee?

Oh, that didn’t stop him from unilaterally issuing subpoenas in a bizarre attempt to paint Obama administration officials as politically biased in order to further undercut the Russia investigation. It didn’t stop him from having an aide send Republican staffers to London to meet with Christopher Steele, author of the infamous golden shower dossier, in another brazen attempt to obstruct justice.

Later, this ass clown tried to independently meet with MI5, MI6, and GCHQ, but they wanted nothing to do with a more incompetent and less sane version of the fictional idiot, Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

Prior to his latest embarrassing kerfuffle, he filed a defamation lawsuit against the Twitter accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom” (@DevinNunesMom) and “Devin Nunes’ Cow” (@DevinCow) for $250M. Instantly, they had more followers than his own Twitter account. Nunes is upset because the bovine was really, really mean to him. America is so freaking glad he has a steak in this critical issue…

Udderly moronic.

Nunes is the poster boy for why Congress stays hopelessly gridlocked and largely impotent on important national issues. He could care less about solving the real problems facing our nation because his sole focus is on toxic partisan politics and, apparently, seeking revenge against libelous cows.

Nunes has no real achievements other than being anti-environment, anti-immigrant, anti-pot, anti-clean energy, anti-universal healthcare and, most importantly, anti-free speech for cows with Twitter accounts. He is pro-Trump and pro-giving rich people more tax breaks. His accomplishments are pretty much relegated to the realm of being a partisan hack and to doing his very best to circumvent the law to show Trump that he is willing to be an unconditional gimp, ball gag optional.

Nunes’ latest ploy of investigating the investigators is a hackneyed and cliched ploy that Republicans love to use as a smokescreen to distract from their own lack of competence and vision. The only people falling for this charade are Trump’s base and they happen to be the kind of folks who think the moon landing was fake and that the Deep State is commanded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Unfortunately, our highly partisan Attorney General, William Barr, will gladly eat all the shit that Nunes feeds him. Barr will assuredly open a new bogus investigation into the Russia investigators claiming they were “spying” on Trump because that’s the conspiracy du jour on Fox News and because the very, ahem, trustworthy cow-litigator Nunes says it might be so.

For the life of me, I’ll never understand why the Republican Party sold its soul to a despicable con-man like Trump. Nunes has proven that he’ll do absolutely anything for Trump. Nunes has no problem whatsoever wasting taxpayer dollars on nonsense. All I can say is that I hope the cow wins the lawsuit and that Nunes not only has to pay the legal costs, but also develops lactose intolerance.

Passion That Can’t Be Denied

LaVerne Roxby, Contributor

We sank to the floor and gave in to the passion that had been building between us for weeks.  Yes, we knew it was wrong! We had tried to deny it, but, NO!  we couldn’t – the sexual tension was too strong. We became one as we yielded to our basic animal sexual instincts, all the time saying, “this can’t be happening, but it is” and other stuff like that.

After “it” was over, we went for hamburgers and cokes and never saw each other again . . . not for many years, and then we did. I looked up and said, “Ari?” at the same time he said, “Lola?” Damn, he looked good. Call it karma, call it fate, call it what you will, but there is no denying that when our eyes met once again, the fire that we had long ago extinguished had returned.  It was like a roiling boil on a hot stove.  My heart literally melted as I hit the go button on my scooter and raced across the dollar store to embrace him, flinging a great-grandchild off my lap as I went. He, wearing thick glasses and using two canes, ran to me, oblivious to the fact that he had knocked over a whole display of $1 a can peaches.  It was at that moment that I wished I wasn’t wearing a Depends, but I knew he would understand.  Love is like that;  never having to say you’re sorry. We met in the center of the dog food section, and it was there, on top of a 50-pound bag, that we took care of our long unfinished business as my granddaughter yelled at me for racing and for dropping HER child, and for not stopping to pick up HER child, and while the store manager called the police.  As we were being led away to separate police cars, I made the little sign with my finger that means “call me” and he blew me a kiss.  As the police car door was closing, I yelled to my granddaughter: “Don’t forget to get me that chocolate pudding that I like; you hear me now?”

Hurricane Crazies

The day of the “big” hurricane, the one we had always feared, was upon us. She was ‘a comin!! My in-laws, plus granny, descended on my house like a herd of migrant workers. The next thing I knew, granny was filling every bottle in the house with water; I’m not kidding – we had to clear a path to get from the kitchen to the living room. Next, she scrubbed the tub and filled it, too.  Oh, well – nobody was much interested in taking a bath anyway; plus, if this baby was as big as they said she was, we were all going to get plenty wet anyway. Suddenly, my mother-in-law started dragging blankets out of the linen closet – at first, I thought it was to pad the area where the sliding glass doors were (if you live in Florida, sliding glass doors are a must-have) but, no, she was settling in on the couch and my father-in-law was wrapping himself up and getting comfy on my loveseat. (Did I mention that we were in FLORIDA where blankets are only for show?  – you never take them out and actually use them.) About that time, my father-in-law yelled: “When are we going to eat?” Feeling the need to escape,  I ran into the dining room – that’s when  I heard a loud thumping noise against our  bay window – were we being bombarded by huge limbs from those high winds we were told were headed our way? NO, it was our stupid horse banging his head against the glass – even he wanted in!! I had a few words with him and then I shut the drapes. I yelled to my husband, “Who let the damn horse out – let me guess.” He said he had read in a book that that is exactly what you should do in a situation like this – let the animal run free.  I knew I was losing “it” so I took off for the family room (big mistake) where I came upon one of our two teenagers – the female one. She was walking around in short shorts and was barefooted (you can get away with that 24/7 in Florida, even when a hurricane is coming). She was pouting because we wouldn’t let her use the phone while it was lightning, and she said she was bored. I said, “Get me a gun so I can kill myself.” About then, I heard a loud thumping at the front door. I looked through the peep hole and, you guessed it – it was “the horse” only this time I was looking at his rear end (always a pleasant sight.) Upon closer inspection,  I realized that he was making a deposit, if you know what I mean. I yelled out, “Did you let the damn pig out so he could run free, too? I knew by the look on my husband’s face that, yes, he had. I was in a dad gum loony bin. I took off for my son’s room where I found him sprawled out on his king-sized waterbed (people are really into water down there) reading a surfing magazine, snacking and listening to a mellow Bob Marley song. Always Mr. Cool, he looked up and said, “What’s up, ma?” I said, “Move over and hand me the chips – there’s a bunch of crazies in the house.”

The Virtues of Colon Cleansing

Being a person who is into rituals, on a glorious Sunday morning, I brewed my coffee and picked up my low fat granola bar before leisurely seating myself at the computer to check my emails.  I immediately saw where two high school classmates had left me messages on Facebook. I excitedly clicked on the link only to discover that their messages were the same:  both  were extolling the virtues of colon cleansing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have that on my to-do list, but only in about 100 years.  In fact, colon cleansing is sitting right up there next to begging my dentist for a root canal. I know that my classmates only care about what is best for me,  and they certainly didn’t know that I would check my messages while eating my breakfast, but having a discussion about colons, period, is just not what I do on a social networking site. I prefer to keep it light out there – I mean, I have participated in discussions  about minor health issues, and the repairs that go with them,  but colons are something that I think are best kept as discussions between patients and doctors,  if a discussion is even necessary. In fact, my primary doctor doesn’t even ask, “how’s your colon?” unless it’s time for the dreaded, un-fun, drink that nasty drink beforehand, colonoscopy.  We have, I think, an unwritten agreement that she will not bring it up again for 10 more years because I recently went after she talked me into it.  I remember very well our discussion when I first agreed to undergo the  polyp check. She brought out a giant  (like 4 x 6 foot) diagram showing the large intestine and the path  the “see all” tube with the giant camera would travel  during the colonoscopy process.  Whoa! I had no idea of all the  activity that goes on in that area –  It looked  like a bustling little city. After 5 minutes of watching the path she was tracing with her long stick, I covered my eyes and said “ I really don’t need to see this – can I have the drug now that takes me out of this nightmare? “ Anyway, I am happy to report that I got an “A” on the colonoscopy experience and I now pretty much ignore anything that has to do with colons, except the punctuation kind. Now, if my former classmates want to start a campaign to cleanse the English language of that type of colon, I will jump right in and offer my opinion.  However,  I prefer to pick on the semi-colon because there’s only half as much to clean – and less chance of polyps.


Grudges

Some people hold grudges, and I don’t think it’s a good thing. “Get over it!” is what I say. Here’s one example: Fifty years ago (yes, 50!!) I did one small thing wrong and got my whole Girl Scout troop (Troop 354) in trouble. Even now, after  all these years, I can’t go home to Florida without having one of them say: “Remember that time when LaVerne got us all in trouble at the Coca-Cola plant?” They also usually bring up the other little incident, which happened at the local Air Force base, but that is another story entirely (definitely). Anyway, here’s what happened at the Coke plant: All of us were loaded up in the back of the troop mother’s station wagon – back then, you could do that – just tell everybody to climb in; if a few heads got knocked around, like up against the window glass, that was okay, it toughened you up for what life had in store for you later on. Anyway, we were merrily cruising along, with all the windows open, when the troop mother spotted a woman in another car that she needed/wanted (whatever), to talk to. She pulled over to the curb in front of the Coke plant (a big mistake) and so did the other woman. She left our car and, of course, told us to “stay right there.” Well, that was fine for about 5 minutes, and then it got HOT IN THERE. I suggested, in a sweet way, that perhaps we should go in and tour the Coke plant while she was busy talking and ignoring us. After all, we WERE wearing our uniforms. All of us formed a nice straight line (me in front) and marched in. I calmly told the receptionist that we were here for our tour. She looked in her little appointment book and said she didn’t see a tour scheduled for us. I looked at her and said, “There MUST be some mistake; we are supposed to be here NOW.” She asked where our leader was and I told her that she would be inside in a few minutes and that we had been instructed to begin the tour immediately as time was an issue.  The next thing I knew, we were on our way. I, of course, was leading the group. About 7-8 minutes later, as we were watching the bottling process (for you younger ones, this was back when Cokes came in glass bottles), and I was really enjoying myself,  I heard a small commotion, and then the troop monster (at this point, from the look on her face, I didn’t think she should be called “mother” anymore), had me by the arm and was  pulling me away from all the fun. She marched me, and all the rest of the troop followed, straight to the car. She was quite upset, and so was I – I did not get the free coke that I had been promised!!! Neither did the other girls, and that’s why they are still carrying a grudge today, I think. One of my troop members is now a psychologist. The next time I’m back home, I’m going to ask if I can lie on her couch and talk things out. It would really help me and, maybe her. You never know.

Hazel Brooks

As I got up to leave, she said: “I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.”  Her name is Hazel Brooks and she is 80 years old. We sat next to each other  on my recent flight from Grand Junction, Colorado to Dallas. I had been up since 2:00 am and had planned to sleep, but she and I ended up talking the whole 3 hours. She told me she lost her husband of 62 years this past April – she said they had a wonderful life. I love the story she told me of how they met. She was working in a restaurant in Texas and a lady came in and asked for a table. The lady said she was expecting her son who was home on leave from the war and asked Mrs. Brooks  to look for him – she said he was tall, dark and handsome and would be wearing a uniform.  Mrs. Brooks said he came in, she directed him to the table where his mother sat, and their romance began that day. They married 2 years later. They had three children – two daughters and one son. She also has 8 grandchildren and 10  great grandchildren.  While we were talking, she opened her wallet and showed me  photo after photo – the first one was of her handsome husband in his uniform. She knew the name of each person and age he or she was when each photo was taken.  She also told me where each one of them lives today.  She said she now lives with one of her daughters, who is blind, near Houston.  Her own home is up for sale – she and her husband lived there for  over  50 years.  She said it was hard to move out.   I told her I understood.

As we talked, she told me about her life. When she was a young girl, and her father was ill with cancer, the family went in two covered wagons from Texas to Arkansas and back – a trip that took 3 months – so her father could soak in the hot mineral springs in the hope of a cure.  He died a few weeks after they returned home – he was in his early 40s. She also told me about her oldest brother, nicknamed “Son.”  She remembers him being in horrible pain for several days before he died at 16  – it turns out that his appendix had burst.  Her eyes misted over as she told me about her brother and her father, both dead all these years. I thought about my own father, who died at 52. There was no miracle cure for him, either.

I listened as she told me about her crazy aunt – the one who had a daughter who couldn’t stand up straight so she put her on a table and ironed her back. She told me the hot iron caused horrible blisters and holes in her back and that her aunt then poured kerosene on the whole area, which also brought terrible pain.  I asked her what the family did when they found out – she said they tied the aunt up in the barn. We moved on to another topic so I found out little more except that her cousin grew up with a straight back.

I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.

On Bass Tournaments

I love to talk. Sometimes I say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong people. My husband, Al’s, big bass tournament was no exception. Here’s what happened: We went to Charleston, SC for a MAJOR tournament – we’re talking big names in fishing. There were 12 fishermen on each team from seven southern states. Anyway, I was milling around with at least 80 other women as the men were coming in on the last day of the 3-day tournament to weigh their fish. I was “lookin’ for muh man” just like the other wives – I was there to support him because he was “muh man.” One of the big sponsors of the tournament, chewing tobacco producers, was handing out samples (as in whole boxes) of their product to all wives.  I politely declined when I was asked if I would like some “for muh man.” Anyway, the crowd was getting larger all the time – the anticipation was building – we were about to have ourselves “a champyon.” The next thing I knew, a microphone had been stuck in my face and I was asked: “Little missy – have you got a man out there on the water today?” I answered, “yes.” The man then said: “What’s his name and what team is he on?” I responded, “Al Krakatos – Alabama.” Next, he said, and I’m not making this up: “Why ain’t you got yourself a box of that ‘baca for yur man?” I said, “Because it causes cancer and there are lots of children here today who see these tobacco-chewing bass fishermen as their heroes.” Well, you could have heard a fishing rod drop – they had a very good loud speaker, and I have a very big mouth. The large crowd suddenly got really, really quiet. About that time, “muh man,” he done come in, and I reverted to being the quiet little wife I was supposed to be but, funny thing is, we were totally ignored at the hoedown that night, which was sponsored by the tobacco people – imagine that. When we got back to the motel later, Al  whined, “The least you could have done was get me one of those brass spittoons that they were giving away with the chewing tobacco.” Knowing now what I didn’t know then (about the future state of our relationship), I should have gotten him at least five boxes of that ‘baca, and encouraged him to chew it. Live and learn.

No More Chubby Cheeks

Like many others, as the last new year approached, I decided to make some major life changes. You know the ones: eat better, eat less, exercise more, drink more water, etc.  I decided to work on all four at once because that’s the kind of person that I am. I hopped out of bed on day 1,  ate three grapes, drank a gallon of water, and prepared for the exercise phase. 

Step 1 is to dress for it. I found my exercise clothes in a large bag from the 1960s, dusted them off, and put on what still fit, which was basically the bag. (I have heard that simply putting on your exercise clothes will automatically cause you to lose 1 pound, and I believe it.) Once I was dressed, I headed to the gym. 

Step 2 is to go into the gym and actually use a piece of equipment. I entered the gym trying to appear as if I had been in one before, and casually surveyed the equipment.  Some of it looked like it belonged on an X-rated website, not that I have ever visited one.  I finally found a machine that looked like a bicycle, except it had a special torture gear. The minute I started pedaling, my legs began to tingle. Because it was such an unusual, uncomfortable feeling, I decided not to overdo it and hurt myself. I only pedaled until I had burned 10 calories and then I stopped to rest. After 5 minutes, I decided to go again. I pedaled to burn 10 more calories and then I knew I needed a major rest. I decided to lie down on the carpet by the bicycle from hell until I felt well enough to walk. While I was down there, I rose up on one arm and looked around. What I saw was a sea of chubby cheeks (both kinds) and some hairy armpits (mostly on men).  The cheeks motivated me to get up and head to the weight room while the hairy armpits motivated me to get up and move, period.  Once in the weight room, I approached a piece of equipment that had a sign stating  that I needed to use enough weights to equal my actual body weight. Well, there was a good-looking guy standing nearby so there was NO way I was going to use the correct amount of weights. I fudged by 30 pounds as he looked on. However, after I grabbed the overhead bars and put my feet on the lower bar, the jig was up: my whole body slammed down and the weights hit the floor.  He was kind enough to turn his head the other way.

Step 3 is to face reality. As I hurriedly left the weight room, I told myself that it was ridiculous to think I could look like a Hollywood starlet after only one gym visit – I needed to pace myself.  I therefore stopped in the lounge area and watched a little TV.  After a couple of shows, I felt re-energized and I completed my exercise regimen by watching other people work out while I drank a frappuccino.  All in all, it was a good first effort to get in better shape. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Fun at Grandma’s

Sometimes, when I was a child, I was downright evil – not evil like Linda Blair in The Exorcist where her head was spinning around as she was spewing out green split pea soup, but evil nonetheless. Take the incident with my cousin, Samantha, for example, when we were both about 12 years old. It was summertime and we were at our grandparents’ home in North Florida. They had an outdoor shower located a good 20 feet from the back of the house. The shower sides were covered with tarpaper and it was open at the top. Samantha decided to take a shower in the middle of the day, and this is where the evil side of me took over. Knowing that she was deathly afraid of “rain frogs,” (small green frogs that sort of stick to your skin when they make contact), I decided to take full advantage of the situation. Once she was inside the shower, this is what I did when the bad LaVerne took over:

           1.  Locked the back porch door

           2.  Grabbed nine or 10 frogs and put them in a Mason jar

3.  Quietly removed her clothes and towel from the top of the shower where they

     were hanging

4.  Climbed up on a ladder and poured the frogs on her.

Approximately 5 seconds later, all hell broke loose. Samantha ran screaming out of the shower, buck naked, and headed for the back door which was, as I said earlier, locked. She then threw open the lid on the wringer washing machine on the porch and grabbed some dirty towels, which she used to cover herself. I, meanwhile, ran around the side of the house and hurriedly got up on the front porch and sat in a rocking chair. All the adults were busy running to the back porch to see what the screaming was about so I felt sure that I was in the clear. Little did I know that one of my other cousins, a little brat about 6, had seen what I had done and he ratted me out. My grandfather, a wiry little man, gave me a few good swats with a hickory switch, and then all the adults went back to doing whatever it was that they were doing before.  What did I do? I calmly went back outside and beat the crap out of that bratty little cousin. This time, I made darn sure there weren’t any witnesses.

Trump and the blowing wind

Clete Wetli, Contributor

“If Hillary got in you wouldn’t have that stat, I can tell you right now. You would be doing wind, windmills and if it doesn’t — if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night. [Laughter] Darling, I want to watch television. I’m sorry, the wind isn’t blowing. I know a lot about wind. I know a lot about wind.”- Donald J. Trump, MAGA Rally, Grand Rapids, Michigan – March 28, 2019

Yes, if Trump knows anything, he is undoubtedly an expert on blowing wind. Many people are saying that, believe me.

He has blown wind for his entire life and he knows more than his generals and scientists about it.

So, here we are. Two years and thousands of lies later. Our debt at historic levels and our institutions under a constant, corrosive attack by people whose only motivation is preserving their power and increasing their personal ill-begotten wealth. In truth, that is where we are.

In science, every human eye has a blind spot that corresponds to the placement of the optic nerve within the retina where there are no photoreceptors. In all their wisdom, the Founding Fathers never anticipated the blind spot of Trump in our democracy. It seemed that they thought that the electorate would never choose someone who was so hell bent on wreaking havoc on our political norms or who was so uniquely and blatantly unqualified to lead. In fact, it was never even considered that we might elect a leader who was intrinsically incapable of coherent thought or formulating complete sentences. Yet, here we are.

Listening to the blowing wind and suffocating on the stench it brings.

This week, I spoke with gleeful Trump cult followers that were simply drunk on the idea that Barr’s shameful initial synopsis of the Mueller Report seemed to clear Trump of Russian collusion.  I listened to their cacophonous illogical explanations and obtuse justifications of Trump’s obvious lies and unethical conduct. Ironically, without exception, each Trump zealot would reluctantly admit that they thought he was a terrible person in one capacity or another. They would cite his continual lies or his infidelity or his lack of ethics or his obvious criminal financial self-dealings. Yet, they would always circle back to supporting him because they thought he was on their side.

They were overjoyed to suck his wind.

Yes, a third, to perhaps half of our country gleefully breathes the foul air that blows from Trump’s rank wind-hole. They seemingly can’t get enough. They find it liberating, intoxicating, and elevating. They are like addicts who make any excuse for another hit of Trump; no matter how insane and no matter the consequence.

We’re two years in and I’m not exactly sure how to fight this effectively. Initially, I thought the truth might be an antidote, but it has sadly failed.  I am slowly coming to the realization that this is less about changing them and more about galvanizing those who refuse to breathe in the wind he blows. That, maybe, we need to put aside our single issue causes and learn to fight together for a greater good. The Republicans figured that out when they employed Grover Norquist’s strategy of, “We know what direction to go. We just need a president to sign this stuff. Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to be president of the United States.”  Well, he may have small digits, but they got exactly what they asked for. A useful idiot who can blow wind and sign decrees.

So, I write this tonight because I feel it’s imperative that we continue to resist and continue to fight for what we know in our hearts is true and right and American.

Trump may know a lot about blowing wind, but we know a lot more about truth and what it will really take for America to find its soul again.  2020 is coming and, soon, a fresh invigorating wind will blow from a different direction and it will bring a new season of hope and desperately needed change.

How did a probate judge get the power to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

With all of the hypocritical right-wing pearl clutching over ‘activist judges’ making law from the bench, it’s shocking that newly elected Madison County, AL Probate Judge Frank Barger felt like it was in his limited judicial purview to grant an aborted fetus the right to have an estate and an attorney in an obvious underhanded ploy to overturn Roe v. Wade. What’s equally stunning is that Barger doesn’t even have a law degree because it’s not currently a requirement to hold the position. But, he has somehow decided that he can upend centuries of precedent and grant legal rights to an aborted fetus in a clearly misguided attempt to prosecute a woman who simply did not violate the law when she decided to have a legal abortion.

What makes this rogue Probate Judge’s actions so despicable is that he’s using a recently passed Alabama ‘personhood’ statute to justify his blatant, religiously-motivated overreach.  The obviously unconstitutional Alabama law that was passed during the last midterm elections states that a fetus and mother have equal rights under the law and it was a highly partisan political attempt to make abortion illegal in the state in direct defiance of Roe v. Wade. In this particular case, the suit was filed two years after the abortion occurred which suggests that, again, this is a scheme designed to circumvent established constitutional law and precedent.

Sadly, this could lead to an enormous amount of very negative legal consequences if this absurdity is upheld. In short, it implies that all abortions are murder and because murder has no statute of limitations, it would open up legal liability to any woman alive who ever had an abortion. That’s just wrong in every way imaginable. But, that’s been the plan of extremist conservatives all along.

That’s what’s terrifying about Trump stacking the Supreme Court with ultra-conservative white bread frat boys who view their position on the high court as a chance to infuse their religious and extreme conservative beliefs into lasting legal precedent. This is dangerous and this must be stopped. Women should never be criminalized for exercising their right to choose or for making decisions about their own bodies.

The biggest outrage in this pathetic ploy is how conservatives have branded themselves for decades as the ‘law and order’ party, yet they continue to show no regard for the Constitution when it serves their political advantage. Whether it’s equal rights or equal pay for women, extremist Republicans have continued to try to pass laws that ensure women will be treated as second-class citizens. This latest bizarre and unethical plan is just another example of what conservatives and their religious zealot base thinks of women.

It’s time to demand that Probate Judge Frank Barger be impeached for his ignorant judicial malpractice. It’s also time to demand that Probate Judges in Madison County actually have a law degree as a pre-requisite to holding office. Next, people should demand that Alabama rescind its unconstitutional abortion laws because they are in direct conflict with existing federal law. After this horrific fiasco, Republicans have no right whatsoever to utter complaints about ‘activist’ judges.

In this unfortunate case, the woman who had the legal abortion deserves our sincere support She does not deserve public censure, not vengeful prosecution, and certainly not mountains of legal bills so that rabid Republicans can throw more red meat to their far-right religious base as they try to out-conservative each other. This is simply a travesty.

Let’s stand up for women and fight this judicial overreach. Probate judges shouldn’t be making any type of decisions in a legal matter such as this. Shame on you, Probate Judge, with no law degree, Barger. We can only hope you’re looking for another job in the next trimester.

Anti-vaxxers Ignorance Causing Irreparable Damage and Needless Deaths

Jerry Waters, Contributor

One of the unfortunate consequences of the modern conservative movement’s war on science and facts is that it has given credence and legitimacy to people who think that they shouldn’t be legally required to vaccinate their children from diseases like the measles. It’s part of the bizarre, deep-state conspiracy, politically evangelical mindset that believes that climate change is a hoax and that the acceptance of scientific facts are dependent on one’s personal beliefs and religious convictions. They believe their rights supersede the common good and they are causing irreparable damage and needless deaths, especially as they spread false and inaccurate information about the safety and effectiveness of medical vaccinations.

Right now, we’re seeing the effects as their actions are directly responsible for the enormous spike in measles cases (200 and counting) in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington. It’s getting so bad that a state of emergency was declared by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

This has happened because medical geniuses like model and horrible B-movie actress Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah in 2007 to claim that the MMR vaccine caused her child’s autism. Other celebrities with no medical background like Alicia Silverstone, Rob Schneider, Robert DeNiro, and Charlie Sheen have spread similar misinformation. Well, if you’re taking your medical advice from Charlie Sheen, you’re in for a bumpy and ride that may leave you with a burning, itching rash that just won’t go away!

To address these false claims and concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, the scientific community has done tons of research to determine the validity of these claims. Without the smallest doubt, numerous studies have shown that the anti-vaxxers are simply wrong. The most recent longitudinal study followed 650,000 children over a span of years and showed no correlation between MMR vaccinations and autism. In fact, they found that unvaccinated kids were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than vaccinated children.

Yet, people are still taking the word of Charlie Sheen and Jenny McCarthy over studies that rely on facts, the scientific method, and rigorous, professional peer-review. Sheen, who thinks he’s made of, um, tiger blood, once said about his life, “It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view.” Isn’t this the guy who lost his sitcom job in an epic drug-fueled meltdown and then announced he was HIV positive? Is this a guy who should be using his celebrity to dispense medical advice? In all fairness to Sheen, he’s gone a year sober now and he’s not making an embarrassing spectacle of himself anymore, but his misguided public remarks on vaccinations have already caused serious damage to public health.

This is why educated, fact-based leadership matters. The right-wing is guilty of giving the anti-science crowd a platform with a megaphone and the devastating effects are becoming palpable in public policy and health.

The Trump administration’s war on science is destroying our environment and remains largely silent on important issues like vaccination so that they don’t lose the ignorant, bat-shit crazy folks that make up their cult-like base. It’s also a wink-nod approach that’s designed to line the pockets of their donors who have no sense of ethics or public responsibility because they prefer short-term profit and political power regardless of the human cost.

It’s time to start publicly denouncing these ant-vaxxers and to enthusiastically support science and facts. The stakes are too high to ignore these fools who do their damage daily on social media.

If only we had a vaccine that prevented ignorance and idiocy. Oh, wait, we do- it’s called education.

‘Repeatedly and brazenly’- Republicans’ disdain for the law

Franklin, Contributor

While more details emerge about the decades-long white-collar crime spree of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Special Counsel Robert Mueller just released a heavily redacted 800-page memo advocating harsh federal sentencing for Manafort due to his deliberately, ‘repeatedly and brazenly’, violating the law for decades. Repeatedly and brazenly.

It’s a recurring and despicable theme in the dark era of Trump. If you’re a rich older white guy, the rules just don’t apply to you. It’s what happens when extreme capitalism conspires with Machiavellianism whilst having an obsessive affair with status-inspired vanity. It’s the only sensible explanation for Manafort’s $15,000 ostrich-leather jacket or his insane expenditures of over $900,000 in five years on designer suits.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

This outrageous disdain for the law and Constitutional norms is evident in every one of Trump’s appointments or picks for senior level positions. It’s obvious in his bullshit declaration of a national emergency on the southern border; yet, his previous declaration of a national emergency on the American opioid epidemic was simply flaccid and clearly inadequate. It was brash and shamelessly apparent in Trump’s tax plan that shifted more money to those sitting on mountains of cash at the expense of the working-class and poor.

Repeatedly and brazenly; rinse and repeat.

When Republicans consciously and intentionally decided to be Trump’s bitch, they prostituted their party and ideals in a way seldom seen in political history. They did it because they believe crap like Joe diGenova, former U.S. attorney and Kool-Aid drinking Republican, said recently to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, “We are in a civil war in this country. There’s two standards of justice, one for Democrats one for Republicans. The press is all Democrat, all liberal, all progressive, all left. They hate Republicans, they hate Trump. So, the suggestion that there’s ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future is over. It’s not going to be. It’s going to be total war. And as I say to my friends, I do two things – I vote and I buy guns.”

Repeatedly and brazenly, they espouse a bizarre amalgam of greed, white supremacy, entitlement, privilege, and xenophobia. And it’s happening because Trump is literally the extreme conservative icon’s dream of an ideal president, as articulated in 2012 by Grover Norquist, who claimed the ideal president would be “a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen.” Republicans sold their souls for a debaucherous grifter, man-child who could do just that to advance their perverse political agenda.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

As we endure the constant and startling atrocities of Trump and his ilk, we should somehow remain optimistic that our nation will survive this assault on our sacred norms and proud institutions. Surely, Republicans are not genuinely proud of Trump or the immoral swamp he represents. Certainly, they will repent and regroup as the inevitable indictments fall and the ugly truth of his corruption and moral bankruptcy is irrefutably exposed. And not just Trump’s, but all his cronies who have engaged in the same type of reprehensible and obviously illegal behavior. We must remain steadfast that they, indeed, are not above the law.

Don’t think that Democrats or others aren’t prone to this sort of repeated and brazen illegality. The difference is that we hold our own responsible. Just ask Al Franken. And, true, there are those like former President Clinton who got away with egregious misconduct, yet liberals can still claim the moral high ground by committing to doing what’s morally right, particularly as we move forward. It matters that Democrats, in spite of their failures, continue to adhere to the highest ethical standards. If we don’t, we become them.

Repeatedly and brazenly and wittingly.

It’s time to remember that the goal of public service isn’t power, it’s all about making our nation a more perfect union. Our adherence to our American values is the only thing we should be doing repeatedly and brazenly.

Oh, and fuck all those greedy, immoral self-indulgent traitors like Paul Manafort… He truly deserves what he’s about to get and we can only hope it’s repeatedly and brazenly in federal prison.

Catastrophic loss of bugs should really bug you

Contributor, Clete Wetli

A new study released in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Biological Conservation, predicts that 40% of the world’s insects face extinction over the next few decades due to global urbanization and corporate agriculture. The research took empirical data from over seventy reports around the world that have been tracking the alarming decline of insects, notably dung beetles, wasps, bees, and butterflies.

Folks, that’s Mother Nature’s primal scream to stop the exploitation of natural resources.

It’s the gravest warning yet for mankind to change its destructive ways.

And, yes, this is very political and highly controversial. It’s why some Democrats are pushing for a New Green Deal and why Republicans are giddy that America pulled out of the Paris Climate Change Accords.

Notably, the 1 out of 6 species of bees that have recently become irrevocably extinct were not registered as Republicans or Democrats or even the Green Party and they certainly didn’t see the need for the massive concrete parking lot that took the place of their once pristine natural habitat.

Hey, so long as some entitled rich guy gets to make another billion, it’s worth it, right? Besides, as resources get increasingly scarce, it just means more dollars for some folks, what’s wrong with that?

Well, it’s bugging the hell out of me that people aren’t taking this seriously. It’s bugging me that this story isn’t dominating the headlines. Instead, we’re contemplating whether the Bloviator-In-Chief is going to shut down the government again if he doesn’t get to build his absurd border wall.

So, why should the loss of a few pesky bugs bug you? I mean, who the hell cares if mosquitoes or gnats become extinct, right? Well, the truth is that bugs are an integral part of our food chain and they are key players in necessary global functions like pollinating crops and ensuring carcasses end up becoming fertilizer. You may not like them, but a lot of animals on the planet eat some Honey Bunches of Bugs for breakfast. No bugs, no coffee… no coffee, no peace. Don’t even get me started on how important bugs are to the production of chocolate. Seriously.

Often, we focus on the plight of cute mammals, like pandas or spotted owls, becoming extinct, but insects are a vital part of the Earth’s ecosystem and actually outnumber other animals.

Americans don’t realize the peril they are in with Trump in office. It’s wasn’t just his rejection of the Paris Accords, it’s his administration’s unwavering, insane commitment to roll back all types of sensible environmental regulations. Frankly, I’m shocked that Trump’s White House didn’t serve dismembered spotted owl instead of ‘hamberders’ to championship college football teams.

That’s the real problem with the Republican Party’s incestuous embrace of the science deniers and the fossil fuel barons- for them it’s only about making a buck; for the rest of us, their willfully ignorant and prejudiced rejection of climate change evidence is a clear and present existential threat.

Republicans and their ilk are literally laying waste to our planet. They are killing the pollinators and destroying the bugs that are vital links in our fragile ecosystem. The evidence is all around us and it’s heartbreaking and overwhelming.

It’s why we’ve got to get behind people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yes, she’s young and rough around the edges, but she is absolutely right when it comes to the environment. We are running out of time for incremental policy change and it’s time for drastic, corrective action. This is especially true as Trump tries to undo decades of beneficial environmental regulations and safeguards. AOC is plainly telling us the inconvenient truth and that’s why the establishment wants to silence her.

Yeah, it’s fossil fuels and toxic waste and landfills and polluted aquifers and oil spills and deforestation and, yes, the extinction of the bees and butterflies.

It matters.

We can still stop this zombie-like march toward our deliberate self-destruction, but it’s going to take more than just remembering to use the office recycle bin and avoiding those stupid coffee pods. It’s going to require comprehensive legislation and policy initiatives that are truly big and genuinely prescient.

We’ve got to figure out a way to get folks to care about the creepy crawlys because they are key to the survival of our planet. They really matter that much.

When 40% of the Earth’s insects are gone, it may be too late.

I hope this bugs the hell out of you, just like it’s bugging the hell out of me. d���_��