Konfounding Kwestions for Konservatives

Why do you oppose big government but think it is OK for government to restrict a woman’s right to choose whether, when, why, and with whom to have a baby?

How can you be pro-life but support the death penalty?

How can you be against government spending but in favor of limitless military spending?

How can you advocate family values but oppose paid maternity leave?

How can you be against government intrusion into people’s private lives and also OK with mass surveillance?

Why do you say you support the troops when you have never met a war you opposed?

Why are you so mad that the country’s most impoverished people pay no income tax yet praise a billionaire for doing the same?

How is it that you shout about individual liberty but don’t see anything wrong with mass incarceration?

Why do you blame unemployed people for not having jobs yet complain about immigrants taking your job?

Why do you complain about low-wage jobs and no-wage jobs yet support politicians who destroy unions?

Why do you preach rugged individualism and personal responsibility to minorities but blame them for your lack of prosperity?

Why do you talk about how much you value hard work but fawn over billionaires who have never done any?

How can you support a war to free women in Afghanistan and threaten to rape any woman who challenges you on Twitter?

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The 10 Commandments, According to Donald Trump

  1. You shall worship no-one but me because I am wonderful . . . incredible . . . believe me, I am amazing.
  2. All idols must show just how amazingly large my testicles are. Amazingly large.
  3. You shall mention my name as often as possible.
  4. Forget the Sabbath. Only lazy people need rest.
  5. Honor your father for the small loan that allowed you to start your business. Your mother was a real dog.
  6. You shall not murder, unless you are murdering Muslims or ugly women.
  7. You shall not commit adultery with pigs, slobs, or disgusting women, especially when they are bleeding from their whatevers.
  8. You shall only steal from honest, hardworking carpenters and laborers.
  9. You shall not miss an opportunity to bear false witness against your neighbor, especially if your neighbor is Mexican. Or a Syrian refugee.
  10. You shall covet everything  because there is a gaping void in your chest where your humanity once was.

Thank You, Donald Trump!

Can somebody PLEASE explain to me what the hell is happening in the G.O.P.? The Bush clan and Mitt Romney just announced that they will not be attending the Convention this summer. So did former presidential candidate John McCain. And Paul Ryan just announced that he can’t get behind Trump’s policies.

Let me get this straight. When angry racist White people – anyone remember the Tea Party, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh and their supporters? – were voting for candidates on the basis of such idiotisms as bootstrapism, prolifism, homophobia and xenophobia (has EVERYONE forgotten Orange Alerts?), these “mainstream” “moderate” Republicans saw nothing wrong with the party?

When angry White xenophobes, racists, homophobes and misogynists were voting to deny marriage equality and cut social-welfare spending for impoverished and minority communities, this was ok? Voting to deny millions of “illegals” basic things like state-issued identification documents and health care was ok?

But now that angry White racists, xenophobes, and bigots are voting on the basis of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry, suddenly there’s something wrong with the party? Um . . . did the Bush clan, Romney, John McCain, and the rest of these “mainstream” Republicans ever wonder why so few Black people supported their party? It’s because their party has ALWAYS been the party of bigots, racists, xenophobes, and homophobes! Sure, they were a more polite sort of racist, homophobe, xenophobe, and misogynist but racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and misogynists they have always been. So thank you, Donald Trump, for helping the G.O.P. show its A.S.S. to the world.

Long Overdue Alphabetical Retrospective on the Bush Years

A is for Axis of Evil
B is for blowback
C is for compassionate conservatism
D is for decider
E is for Enron
F is for freedom fries
G is for Guantanamo
H is for Hurricane Katrina
I is for insurgency
J is for Jesus
K is for Kanye West
L is for liberators
M is for mission accomplished
N is for New Orleans
O is for orange alerts
P is for Patriot Act
Q is for quagmire
R is for recession
S is for shock and awe
T is for “they misunderestimated me”
U is for unknown unknowns
V is for Valerie Plame
W is for waterboarding
X is for extraordinary rendition
Y is for Yellowcake
Z is for xenophobia

R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

I’ve neglected T’ings ‘n Times for far too long and somehow, I thought my “comeback” post would be something of a masterpiece. Instead, here I am writing a quick, short post about Michael Jackson’s untimely death.

There’s not too much I can say. Is there a word for immense surprise mixed with sadness and disbelief? In German, maybe? I know the Germans have all kinds of words for ideas and emotions that cannot be conveyed in English.

It never occurred to me that one day, I’d have to live in a world without MJ. He’s always been there. Everywhere. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t know of him. I can’t even remember when I learned who Michael Jackson was, it was so long ago. It would be like trying to remember my first words.

Even in Freetown in the ’80s, Michael Jackson was everywhere. Everyone knew his music. His picture was everywhere: on walls, on the sides of poda-poda minibuses, on barbershop signs . . .. It was as if he had always been around. And, despite his well-publicized fall[s] from grace, I suppose in many ways always will be.

Rest in peace, MJ.

Luis Ramirez’s Killers About to Stand Trial

Derrick Donchak (top), Brandon Piekarsky (middle), and Colin Walsh (bottom), have been charged in the beating death of Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Ramirez died two days later from head injuries sustained during the attack.

Derrick Donchak (top), Brandon Piekarsky (middle), and Colin Walsh (bottom), have been charged in the beating death of Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Ramirez died two days later from head injuries sustained during the attack.

The Republican Herald reports that jury selection in the trial of Derek Donchak, Colin Walsh, and Brandon Piekarsky will begin on April 22, with the trial itself set to start on April 27.

Last summer, the three accused attacked Luis Ramirez after they ran into him and a young woman in a park. The woman turned out to be the younger sister of Ramirez’s fiancee, whom he was walking home. Donchak, Walsh, and Piekarsky had—according to witness testimony—been drinking malt liquor in the woods near the park.

The ensuing attack left Luis Ramirez unconscious and foaming at the mouth. One question that will hopefully be answered by the trial is whether it was Colin Walsh or Brandon Piekarsky who delivered the fatal blow. Walsh’s sucker punch knocked Ramirez down and left him unconscious on the ground, where he lay when Brandon Piekarsky delivered a final kick to his head. The unconscious Ramirez was transferred to hospital, where he died two days later. 

Elsewhere, it is being reported that Colin Walsh has agreed to testify against his co-accused. There is also some confusion about whether or not the charges against him will be/have been dropped in exchange for his cooperation. Hopefully more information will come out about the details of the various plea arrangements.

The announcement that justice will be done in the Luis Ramirez beating-death case comes as good news for supporters of the rule of law. And, as anti-immigrant rhetoric is ratcheted up and anti-immigrant hate crimes continue to increase, it is important that those who are found to have committed hate crimes are punished according to the law.

The law does not require anyone to like anyone else, but it does state explicitly that a person may not physically assault or kill another person. Hopefully justice will be done.

Wheels of Justice Appear to be Turning in Luis Ramirez Murder Case.

Three teens charged in the beating death of Luis Ramirez will be charged with third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and ethnic intimidation.

Three Shenandoah, Pennsylvania teens charged in the beating death of Luis Ramirez will be tried for third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and ethnic intimidation.

CNN reports that Brandon Piekarsky (left), Colin Walsh (center), and Derrick Donchak (right) will stand trial on charges related to the beating death last month of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican migrant. The case cast a national spotlight on the Pennsylvania town of Shenandoah, where the Latino population has encountered hostility from the White community.

Sixteen-year-old Piekarsky and 17-year-old Walsh will be tried “on counts of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation.” Both will be tried as adults.

Eighteen-year-old Derrick Donchak “has been ordered to stand trial on aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and other offenses.”

According to eyewitness testimony from Ben Lawson, a 17-year-old friend of the three accused,

Ramirez [the victim] was fighting with one of the suspects, Derrick M. Donchak, when another, Colin Walsh, sucker-punched the victim. A third suspect, Brandon Piekarsky, then kicked Ramirez in the head while he lay motionless in the street.”

Lawson also testified that he, the three accused, and two other friends had been drinking in the woods on the night of the attack that resulted in the death of Luis Ramirez. Lawson went on to say that the next day, they met at Brandon Piekarsky’s house to plan what they were going to tell the police:

We made up a plan that we we’re going to tell the cops that nobody kicked him, that there were no racial slurs, there was no booze, and Brian got hit first.”

Having failed to protect Luis Ramirez in life, we can now only hope that the legal system will dispense justice to the people responsible for his death. More importanly, let’s hope the outcome of this trial makes other would-be hate criminals think twice before beating someone to death simply because he looks different from them.