Two Months Worth Of News In Ten Days

August 2nd, 2022 by Tom Lynch

I’ve been away from the magic keyboard for the last ten days. Why?

Well, I don’t know whether you’ve ever had the urge to take a bouncy tumble down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night, but for those of you who might be considering such an appealing leap of faith, my counsel is to abandon that notion. Rock climbing will provide the same degree of terror and has the potential to be a lot more fun.

What could have been really bad was only mildly bad. A bit of blood, some bruised ribs and a torn medial collateral ligament that will heal without surgery in about four weeks. My tennis buddies can expect me back on the court in early September a little worse for wear, but just as energetic.

A couple of months of news has happened in the last ten days, some stories entirely predictable, some infuriating, and a couple quite sad, yet uplifting.

The entirely predictable

Entirely predictable was Mr. Sophistication, the loathsome Florida Representative Matt Gaetz once again going out of his way to insult women of all stripes. Currently under investigation for allegedly paying women for sex and, separately, sleeping with a minor and transporting her across state lines, Gaetz, whose standard of ethics would take about as much strain as a newly formed cobweb, distinguished himself in May by tweeting: “How many of the women rallying against overturning Roe are over-educated, under-loved millennials who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats, and no bumble matches?”

However, that was not good enough for this cretin who somehow is permitted to cast a vote during lawmaking. Speaking before a group of students at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, the Trump wannabe told them people who are upset about the devastation of abortion rights across the country needn’t worry about a lack of access to medical care because no one in his cohort would want to get them pregnant anyway.

Gaetz, who’s been elected three times now in what must be an “interesting” congressional district, asked the young conservatives, “Have you ever watched these pro-abortion, pro-murder people? The people are just disgusting. But why is it is that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb. These people are odious on the inside and out. They’re like 5’2”, 350 pounds…”

Have I mentioned that Mr. Gaetz, whose morality seems as hard to find as a condom in the Vatican, is currently under investigation for allegedly paying women for sex and, separately, sleeping with a minor and transporting her across state lines? I did? Sorry.

But the Congressman, whose mind is about as deep as a pool table’s side pocket, may not only have met his match this time, but been seriously outgunned by one of the “odious” and “disgusting” women he viciously insulted.

Nineteen-year-old college student Olivia Julianna, who goes by her first and middle name due to safety concerns, took to Twitter to respond to the conservative Republican, calling him “alleged pedophile.”

“It (has) come to my attention that Matt Gaetz — alleged pedophile — has said that it’s always the “odious, 5’2, 350 pound” women that “nobody wants to impregnate” who rally for abortion,” the Houston resident said. “I’m actually 5’11, 6’4 in heels. I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place.” Gaetz, although he tries to appear taller for the camera, is actually 5’7.

Over five days, Olivia started a fundraiser for the Gen Z For Choice Abortion Fund, and raised more than $1.3 million, in the process gaining more than 250,000 new followers on social media platforms.

Gaetz, who is 20 years older (chronologically) than Olivia, still appears to have no idea his clock has just been thoroughly cleaned.

The infuriating

As I write this on Tuesday afternoon, 2 August, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has just announced he is scheduling a vote tonight on the PACT Act, a bill enhancing health care and disability benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. This bill was personal for President Biden, because his late son, Beau, was one of those exposed.

By now, everyone knows Republicans overwhelmingly supported this bill when it was first before the Senate in June. Everyone also knows that because of an administrative error the bill was corrected in the House and sent back to the Senate for a final vote, where it was defeated when Republicans no longer supported it, after which they fist-bumped and high-fived each other for their courageous stand.

This entire shoot-yourself-in-the-head idiocy came about because of the Constitution’s Originations Clause, which says all revenue raising must originate in the House. The PACT Act, as originally voted in the Senate flipped that on its head. Consequently, the one sentence in the Bill that violated the Originations Clause was taken out in the House and the bill returned to the Senate for what everyone thought would be a simple approval vote. Ah, but such was not to be. Complaining about what Senator Ted “Cancun” Cruz called a “budgetary gimmick,” Republicans threw down their gantlet, which veterans groups, President Biden, and, most tellingly, John Stewart, picked up and beat them senseless with.

Tonight, the PACT Act will overwhelmingly pass, as it did in June, and Senate Republicans will take credit for making it better.

The sad, but uplifting

In the last few days, we’ve lost two giants, Bill Russell and Nichelle Nichols, who are being celebrated as Black America’s Greatest Generation.I cannot disagree with this more strongly. Yes, Nichols and Russell were Black, and yes, they were Great. And, yes, they were monumental leaders in the civil rights movement. But, more than all of that, they were Great Americans. Both of them would have preferred to be remembered for that, rather than being pigeonholed into a racial silo.

Neither Russell nor Nichols let profound racism dissuade them from their quest to be the best at what they did. They both broke solid, well-manned barriers, vanquishing those ignorant bigots who had nothing better to do than to persecute them.

Today, the New York Times reprinted a 1987 essay written by Bill Russell’s daughter Karen, who had just graduated from Harvard Law School. Ms. Russell described in searing detail the racism her family faced in Massachusetts, even though her father was the toast of the town in Boston every time he stepped on the parquet floor of the Boston Garden. But off the court? Life wasn’t such a bowl of cherries back in their home in Reading, Massachusetts. You should read Karen’s essay for one reason above all others—when you reach the end you will know she could have written it yesterday. So much still resonates.

Rest in peace, Nichelle and Bill. You’ve earned it.