Trump loves to show the world the overwhelmingly red, county-by-county map detailing his surprise 2016 electoral-college victory. It is a thing to behold, I guess, although it helps to remember that the small blue-colored areas simply show the places where voters actually live (cities, towns, urban areas) while the red shows where, on average, they don’t (rural areas). None of this stops Trump from touting his map as evidence the greatest political win since the invention of political wins.
That map popped into my head while I was semi-following Trump’s ill-attended rally in Tulsa, OK, last Saturday. One picture in particular, of a lone supporter sitting in the upper reaches of the mostly-empty arena, seemed to flip the map’s color scheme on its head, and bode ill for an incumbent who’s dropping like a rock in the polls.
The Trump Administration had a bad week at the Supreme Court. First came the court’s ruling that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender employees from being fired due to sexual identity (it’s notable that Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion). Next, the court upheld DACA, which protects children of illegal immigrants — generally referred to as “dreamers” in reference to the proposed DREAM Act — from immediate deportation, and that Trump and his racist adviser Stephen Miller want to end.
State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Drillers) resigned from office this week, and, as expected, announced he would start work as “general counsel” for Pittsburgh-based People’s Natural Gas. Given Turzai’s stalwart service to the natural gas industry during his time in office — blocking efforts at meaningful environmental regulation and all attempts to impose a severance tax on the industry — the only changes he’ll see will be in his job title and size of his paycheck.
Trump’s shaky performance during his commencement address at West Point, where he apparently had trouble negotiating a ramp and handling a water bottle, had folks openly wondering about his physical health. Naturally, Trump took to Twitter to defend himself, claiming the “very long & steep” ramp (it wasn’t) was “very slippery” and had “no handrail.” He went on to claim he ran the last ten feet (debatable) due to “Momentum!”
Houston-based Cabot Oil and Gas has been hit with 15 criminal complaints following a state grand jury report accusing it of flouting environmental laws and contaminating groundwater in Susquehanna County’s Dimock Township. The company’s un-indicted enablers — namely the state legislature’s GOP House and Senate majority and leaders Mike Turzai and Joe Scarnati — are nearly as culpable, as they’ve repeatedly blocked efforts to enforce regulations on the industry or enact a gas severance tax. Both announced retirement plans earlier this year, with Turzai cutting to the chase and stepping down early to take a fat paycheck from …WAIT FOR IT … the gas industry!
NASCAR’s surprising decision to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag shows just how quickly public perception of white supremacy and racial inequality have changed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing explosion of Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations. Clearly, change is afoot. It will be interesting to see how NASCAR negotiates this corner, as I imagine that some die-hard members of its good-ol’-boy fan base will not take kindly to having to leave the stars’n’bars at home.
Lackawanna County finally moved into the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s three-step plan to return the state to “normal” operations during the ongoing pandemic.
A number of retired four-star military officers are less than enthused with Trump’s authoritarian urge to turn the military on U.S. civilians. First came former Trump Defense Secretary James Mattis (four-star Marine general), followed by former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen (four-star Navy admiral), with former Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly (four-star Marine general) coming to Mattis’ defense after Trump wrongly claimed that he had fired him. Kelly hasn’t yet issued a full-throated condemnation of Trump’s presidency, but hinted at his opinions of the man earlier this year.
Add to them a growing list of other high-ranking military officials who view Trump as a threat to democracy and the Republic, and Trump’s likely seeing stars. Certainly, there are those members of Trump’s cult who will never abandon him and will believe every ridiculous thing he says, but this can’t help.
It’s understandable that Scranton Federation of Teachers President Rosemary Boland is unhappy that her members still don’t have a contract with the financially beaten-down city school district. Less understandable is her apparent belief that the actions of her union played little or no role in those troubles.
Trump’s little P.R. stunt in front of St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., has drawn condemnation from religious leaders across the board. Clearly, tear-gassing and macing peaceful protesters while forcibly ejecting a church’s occupants isn’t exactly in Jesus’ wheelhouse.
President Big-Talk actually did emerge from his White House hidey-hole yesterday afternoon, but only after armored police tear-gassed and maced the crowds of peaceful protesters to clear the way. His destination was was a bizarre photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, where the priest and other occupants had been forcibly ejected before his arrival.
We are in a very disturbing place as a nation right now. Almost all of the blame falls on Trump and those who have enabled him.