The state of Texas, in its infinite wisdom, has decreed that all persons coming to vote must present a picture ID to thwart the rampant voter fraud which they have convinced themselves has been occurring here. They've convinced themselves because it gives them the opportunity to do what they want to do anyway. Which is, frankly, to discourage "those people" from voting.
Anyway, it occurred to me as I presented my voter's registration card and my Texas driver's license that the voter's registration card is now superfluous. The state refuses to accept it as proof of anything and yet they continue to print and mail them to us.
How many millions of dollars could the state save by simply stopping that practice? I mean, if the cards are worthless as proof, why spend millions of our tax dollars on them?
Another day, another mass shooting in America. This time in Kansas. It hardly even makes the headlines anymore.
Never mind. Tomorrow there'll be another one and this one will be forgotten just like all the others.
Here's a hint: If you feel compelled to start your sentence with "I'm not a racist, but...," "I'm not a sexist, but...," "I'm not a misogynist, but...," then you most likely are that thing that you claim not to be.
The death of Antonin Scalia has shone a light on some of his practices as a 30-year member of the nation's Supreme Court; things that were not generally discussed while the man was alive.
For example, there's a story in The New York Times today that details Scalia's practice of accepting privately funded expense-paid trips to exotic locations around the world. He was on such a trip when he died in West Texas.
Moreover, this Texas trip and many of the others were paid for by individuals and companies that had business before the Supreme Court. Do we seriously imagine that there was no quid pro quo involved in these transactions? That these trips were paid for simply out of the open-handed generosity of the benefactors?
It seems that even with the highest court in our land, we are at the mercy of the billionaires who are able to buy the favor of the justices.
You've met my three cats whose pictures appear in the right-hand margin of my blog. But in the past year my neighborhood has had a problem with feral cats. Some years ago, a neighbor moved away and apparently left a cat or cats behind to fend for themselves. These cats have now multiplied. Some were trapped and sent to the humane shelter by another one of my neighbors, but the problem has grown.
Bertie, my kitten, to whom I've introduced you previously, was probably the progeny of one of those cats when she turned up as a four- or five-week-old kitten in our driveway, but late last summer, I began noticing another problem.
Birds were being killed at my backyard feeders and birdbaths. A little investigation revealed a mother cat with three growing kittens that she was trying to feed. Long story short, I started feeding them on my back porch, hoping to tame them enough that they might be someone's pets. The killing stopped but they remained quite wild.
Over the months, they've become a bit more trusting, but we are now at the point where they could soon start multiplying and I could end up on the evening news as the old lady with a hundred cats in her yard. So, we've started live-trapping them and taking them to our vet to get them fixed. Not an inexpensive proposition, but there is no such thing as a free cat. An outlay of money now is preferable to a bigger outlay and more problems (and kittens) in the future.
|M.C. (Mama Cat). I guess she recognized me as a soft touch.|
|Charlene, named for our deceased cat, Charlie, whom she resembles. She's one of M.C.'s kittens and she's now been spayed and given her basic shots, treated for parasites, etc.|
|Rudy. He's not one of the original kittens. He came to our backyard looking for food in December and found it on my back porch. He's now been neutered and given basic shots and health care.|
|Max, another of M.C.'s kittens. He's at the vet's as I type this waiting to get snipped.|
|Bootsie, the third of M.C.'s kittens - still to be captured and spayed.|
I tell this story to say this: If you have cats, PLEASE, PLEASE get them spayed or neutered and keep them indoors where they are safe. There are far too many unwanted cats in the world and most of them suffer short lives and often terrible deaths. While they live, they create havoc and do untold damage to wildlife as they try to find enough food to survive.
And if you have stray cats or feral cats in your neighborhood, work with your local humane shelter or other animal protection groups to take care of them and prevent more unwanted animals being born into the world. It's important for the ecology as well as for our basic humanity, which can be judged by the way that we deal with animals.