Good morning, and welcome to a very busy Sunday.
Where to begin? Recapping the highlights of this past week or so in our fragmented society leads to a narrative that is at once humorous and tragic. Take, for instance, allegations that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Rep. Calif.) elbowed fellow Republican Congressman Tim Burchett of Tennessee. NPR’s Claudia Grisales, who witnessed the assault, called the event “stunning.” The whole incident, while not proving that the hallways of Congress are narrow, seems to have been blown out of any imaginable proportion.
A rabbit punch thrown with any authority should have left Burchett doubled over. Rather, he ran to the closest throng of reporters to register his finger pointing.
Both Burchett and McCarthy should be given time outs and be denied recess for a week.
Joining them in detention is Republican Senator U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin, whose parents apparently didn’t know that Mark and Wayne are two different names, said that his fellow Oklahomans “would be pretty upset” if he hadn’t threatened a union leader to a fight during a senate hearing. Teamsters’ leader Sean O’Brien had a heated exchange during a senate hearing on labor unions, at the end of which Mullin asked O’Brien if he wanted to fight. Mullin even stood from his chair, but was stopped by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who was chairing the hearing.
Mullin, a plumber by trade and a former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter, should promote more floor violence to reassure his re-election by his fight-happy Oklahomans.
Since both chambers are filled with elected officials sent to do their constituents’ bidding, it’s reassuring to note that there is no shortage of sound bites expressing opinions regarding the possibilities of tossing George Santos out of office.
Santos, who lied about everything to get elected from his Long Island, New York, district (he ran unopposed), has been acting out his criminal self ever since taking office. But the Republicans are less concerned about Santos’s behavior than they are about losing a vote—should one ever be needed by a slim House majority.
Known as the House “Dandy” for his sartorial sense, Santos should be sent packing, along with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Georgia, who was calling out Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, for voting against her articles of impeachment against Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. And just to be fair, let’s never forget that moment in history when House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) told Democrat Rep. Jared Moskowitz, of Florida, that he looked like a Smurf.
And while we’re at it, let’s ask Mike Johnson to vacate his seat as Speaker. He seems to lack the dynamics of McCarthy, which is like comparing matzo to milquetoast, and much of the House finds his religiosity a tad over the top.
He claims to be a Christian whose world view is found in the pages of the Bible, but he’s as anti-LGBTQ as an elected official can be. One wonders if he might join the boycott of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is hosting performances by nonbinary Broadway actors. This is the latest attempt to force companies to reverse course on social issues that some far-right groups consider too liberal. One Million Moms is protesting the participation of two nonbinary actors: Alex Newell, the Tony Award-winning performer who stars as Lulu in “Shucked,” and Justin David Sullivan, who plays May in the musical “& Juliet.”
Gender-identity issues abound.
Apparently, there are serious delivery issues with the United States Postal Service. It took more than twenty years for a letter from Osama bin Laden to get to the American public. There’s not much content beyond its expected condemnation of America’s support for Israel and accusations of aiding the oppression of the Palestinian people. Bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. special forces operation in Pakistan in 2011, also denounced U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Kashmir, Chechnya and Lebanon.
In the letter, bin Laden addressed the American people and sought to answer the following questions: “Why are we fighting and opposing you?” and “What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?” Not surprisingly, the letter includes antisemitic language and homophobic rhetoric.
Speaking of antisemitism, Elon Musk, owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, has allowed racist posts to be seen by its 160 million users.
Both GOP and Democrat strategists are carefully reviewing attempts by those seeking judicial relief to keep Donald Trump from holding office ever again. Eyes are on the prize of using the Fourteenth Amendment to demonstrate restrictions of anyone who participated in any insurrection. Trump, who has been credited with “187 minutes of dereliction” during the January 6 riot on the Capitol steps, keeps making his bid to be the 47th president.
All of this has me embracing the Scottish word: Dumfungled, feeling mentally and physically worn out.
Photo illustration by Courtney A. Liska
Many moons ago, I encountered a gentleman who would could tell where you were from based on what you ate on Thanksgiving. I confused him because our family’s traditional meal included sauerkraut. That suggested that I was from Maryland, where sauerkraut is served with both brats and turkey. For us, it was because we were Bohemians and we ate sauerkraut all of the time.
1 pkg. refrigerated sauerkraut
2 Tbs. finely minced onion
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 tsp. caraway seed
Lightly sauté the onions and garlic. Add sauerkraut, along with the brine. Add more water as necessary to cover. Add caraway seed and simmer kraut for 20 minutes over medium heat.