Energize An Ally Tuesday
Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a fan of the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping event known as Trample Your Neighbors At The Mall Friday. Now that I’m finally out of the coveted 25-54 demo, I can kick back at home and let the young ‘uns do the trampling instead. Admittedly it wasn’t as bad as last year, but still…no thanks.
I much prefer Giving Tuesday, started in 2011 as “an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.”
It’s a good time to stop and appreciate the many fearless, well-run organizations that go out every day and defend the country from the domestic orc army known as the Republican party. Plus there tends to be less trampling.
Here are some groups on which we’ve cast our Tuesday Energize An Ally spotlight over the years. If you feel like tossing a few bucks their way, they’d appreciate it. And if you have a group that you’d like folks to know about, let us know in the comments.
The ACLU The civil liberties titan preventing the GOP from treating the Constitution as a snot rag
The Hispanic Federation Helping reunite families at the border and rebuild Puerto Rico in the wake of hurricane Maria
League of Conservation Voters Working to make life hell for polluters and climate-science deniers
Run for Something Extremely effective at recruiting and training thousands of young progressives to run for office since the day Trump took office…and a lot of ‘em won.
March for Our Lives The gun-control phenomenon started by students literally under fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that became the catalyst for knocking the mighty NRA off its high horse
And, of course, the two Senate runoff races in Georgia that could swing control back to the Democrats—sorry, Demon Rats—so President Biden can get some serious legislation passed. The Act Blue Link for Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock is here.
To all the organizations fighting the good fight, and the dedicated advocates who staff them, Thank You for doing what you do. It is most excellent.
And now, our feature presentation…
Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Note: There’s no difficulty—from flat tires to leaky pipes—that can’t be overcome with a healthy dollop of leftover pureed turkey gizzards. It’s science, people. It’s just science.
By the Numbers:
Days ’til inauguration day: 50
Days ’til Chester Greenwood Day in Farmington, Maine: 4
Percent of President-elect Joe Biden’s senior communications team that’s made up of women: 100%
Drop in retail-store foot traffic on Black Friday versus last year, according to The Wall Street Journal: -50%
Increase in online Black Friday sales: 22%
Percent of eligible Mainers who turned out to vote last month: 78%
Distance by which Earth is closer to the Milky Way’s black hole than we originally thought, according to Japanese radio astronomy project VERA: 2,000 light years
Puppy Pic of the Day: And the winner is…
CHEERS to December. The year’s glorious, sparkling, musical, snow-bedecked, bell-ringing, Norman Rockwellesque grand finale. Bring on the swans a’ swimming, sharpen your dreidel tips (Hanukkah starts the 10th) and polish your Festivus pole (the 23rd). Bring on next week’s full “cold moon” (the 30th). Bring on the winter solstice. Bring on C&J’s 17th anniversary. Bring on more of Biden’s blue-ribbon cabinet picks! Bring on the Covid vaccine! Also: check the expiration date on the eggnog that’s been sitting in the back of your fridge since 1999 before you take a swig. And settle your differences with 2020 because in 30 days it is out the door and ain’t comin’ back. I believe I speak on behalf of everybody here when I say: “Good.”
JEERS to December. The year’s stress-filled, bone chilling, dark-by-3, be-cheerful-or-else, and oh-here comes a-giant-blizzard grand finale. The Harry Simeone choir will make curmudgeons’ ears bleed with enough pa-rum-pum-pum-pums to choke a horse, and you just know there are several beloved mega-celebrities who will inconvenience us by dying this month.
There’s the Pearl Harbor anniversary to remind us how few of our WW II heroes remain above ground. Our cat will take up her favorite December tradition of batting glass ornaments off the tree for us to step on in the middle of the night. With Trump and the Republicans still in charge and the pandemic raging, the wise among us will forgo candy canes and instead hang holiday-themed Prozac dispensers. Plus: I just guzzled a bunch of eggnog before checking the expiration date, so nice knowin’ ya. I believe I speak on behalf of everybody here when I say: “Bah humbug.”
CHEERS to parking your kiester for equality. On December 1, 1955, black seamstress Rosa Parks, who was also secretary of the local branch of the NAACP and trained in nonviolent civil disobedience long before John Lewis labeled it “good trouble,” refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama public bus. The bus driver, James Blake, said he was just doing his job when he ratted her out. But history reveals his job apparently also included being a jerk:
Once, after she had paid her fare at the front, he had ordered her to board the bus at the rear and then, before she could do so, driven off. On other occasions he had ostentatiously driven past the stop at which she was waiting.
As for Parks, she wasn’t the first black American to challenge the discriminatory rules of public transportation. But in this case, her arrest and the ensuing boycott of the bus system—led by budding activist Martin Luther King, Jr.—became a signature event of the civil rights protest movement. I don’t like to play the game of “What If,” but I’d bet dollars to doughnuts she’d be rooting for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Yeah—going out on limbs is my business.
BRIEF SANITY BREAK
END BRIEF SANITY BREAK
CHEERS (because it’s important) and JEERS (because it’s still necessary) to World AIDS Day. This year marks 39 years since the first published scientific account of the virus that would decimate the gay community and spread to the straight community with equal viciousness. Today more than 38 million people around the world live with HIV or full-blown AIDS. A minimum of 35 million have died from it. UNAIDS says the 32nd anniversary of World AIDS Day brings with it new complications, (no-)thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, says executive director Winnie Byanyima:
“Like all epidemics, it is widening the inequalities that already existed: Gender inequality, racial inequality, social and economic inequalities. … It is the strength within communities, inspired by a shared responsibility to each other, that has contributed in great part to our victories over HIV. Today, we need that strength more than ever to beat the colliding epidemics of HIV and COVID-19.
As the first COVID-19 vaccine candidates have proven effective and safe, there is hope that more will follow, but there are serious threats to ensuring equitable access. We are calling on companies to openly share their technology and know-how and to wave their intellectual property rights so that the world can produce the successful vaccines at the huge scale and speed required to protect everyone and so that we can get the global economy back on track.
[And] women and girls must have their human rights fully respected, and the criminalization and marginalization of gay men, transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs must stop.
By the way, the last time the 54-ton AIDS quilt could be displayed in its entirety was 1996, and if laid out today it would cover more than 1,293,300 square feet. Not coincidentally, this is also Give A Virus The Finger Day. Knock yerself out.
CHEERS to crossing the finish line (with more than a few gobs of seaweed up our nose). Southerners and East Coasters rejoice! After going through the regular alphabet, the Greek alphabet, and the Holy Shit We’re Going Through A Lot Of Alphabets alphabet, as of today your 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is officially over. Here’s the National Weather Service’s 2020 “spaghetti map” charting the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season:
“Heckuva Job Donny” Trump’s disaster management skills were nearly as AWOL as they were during the previous three years. He made perfunctory appearances, sent out dishonest self-congratulatory tweets, and basically showed all the compassion of a…well, a tone-deaf elitist hurling rolls of paper towel to the homeless and hungry. Meanwhile, the NOAA 2021 hurricane season forecast comes out next May. But other than blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, nor’easters, mudslides, droughts and Republicans still roaming the halls of Congress, we’re in the clear.
Ten years ago in C&J: December 1, 2010
CHEERS to flip-flops we can believe in. Ya can’t win ’em all, so the saying goes, but the occasional victory is sweet:
In a reversal, the Obama administration said today it will not pursue offshore drilling off the East Coast of the U.S. and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. A senior administration official told The Associated Press that because of the BP oil spill, the Interior Department will not propose any new oil drilling in waters off the East Coast for at least the next seven years.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar…said in a statement obtained by the AP that the BP spill taught officials a number of lessons, “most importantly that we need to proceed with caution and focus on creating a more stringent regulatory regime. … Our revised strategy lays out a careful, responsible path for meeting our nation’s energy needs while protecting our oceans and coastal communities,” he said.
Now, I know you’re probably saying, “Hey Bill, how do I know this is really a major step forward?” Because, my friend, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls it “a major step backward.” And you can’t get any green-lightier than that.
And just one more…
CHEERS to our annual peek into the phenomenon of “Kossack Time.” Yesterday’s C&J poll asked, “At what speed does it seem 2020 has gone for you?” It’s a question we’ve asked virtually every year since 2012 (missing only 2019), and the results are interesting. Here’s the year-by-year breakout for comparison. Fascinating reversal this year:
79%, 82%, 78%, 80%, 56%, 66%, 73%, and 29% this year
11%, 11%, 13%, 15%, 13%, 10%, 10%, and 10% this year
7%, 5%, 6%, 6%, 32%, 25%, 19% and 61% this year
Contrary to previous years, life did not fly by this year, no doubt a one-two punch of endless pandemic isolation and uncertainty coupled with the daily grind of slogging through Trump’s slo-mo dismantling of our democracy. Fearless prediction: the numbers will flip back next year as President Biden puts his foot—freshly removed from his ankle boot—on the accelerator and progress returns with a speedy vengeance. And if we win those two Georgia Senate seats: prepare for windburn.
Have a tolerable Tuesday. Floor’s open…What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today’s Shameless C&J Testimonial
“It seems that we have a president who can’t wrap his brain or mind around the fact that someone who he thinks is so inferior to him writes Cheers and Jeers.”