Vote ’22 Part 3

It’s time to Break It Down!

It’s been three weeks since I last regaled you about the importance of voting. On November 8, the United States executed nation-wide elections, including all 435 House seats and 35 of 100 Senate seats. Democrats held onto 50 seats in the Senate, meaning they will retain control of the chamber, due to the tie-breaker vote wielded by Vice President Kamala Harris. Republicans have taken over the House with a slim majority. At this point, it appears the House will begin the 118th Congress on January 3rd with 434 members. Virginia Representative Donald McEachin died Monday, and will be replaced via a special election, as House members cannot be appointed. 

Next Tuesday, December 6th, Georgia will hold a Run-off Election, pitting Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock against Republican Herschel Walker.

How did we get here?

Georgia Election 2022 (Runoff)

When no candidate receives a majority of votes in the general election, a runoff between the top two vote-getters is required. The runoff election will be Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Statewide, voters will decide between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and his challenger Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate. Some counties have down-ticket races as well.

A Democratic victory would nudge their advantage up to 51-49, while a Republican win would result in a 50-50 tie, which has been the status during the 117th Congress, the past two years. Technically, the Democrats will control the Senate, regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s Run-off. Still, Warnock’s seat is important.

The additional seat, which would provide a numerical advantage, avoiding a tie. This advantage would give Democrats an additional seat on Senate committees, and give them a majority, instead of a tie. That is useful on all committees, but it is especially critical on the committee that sends judges to the full Senate. Without that extra vote, Republicans can stall nominees in committee, and sometimes even derail their nomination.

If you’re thinking most of this information is geared toward Georgians, you are both insightful and correct. So, if you live in Georgia, or you know someone who lives in Georgia that is registered and eligible to vote, please encourage them to exercise their franchise, either by voting early, voting by absentee ballot, or by voting in person on Election Day. Finally, wherever you live, and regardless of where you live, if so inclined, send a contribution to Senator Warnock’s campaign. Thanks in advance for doing your part to secure our democracy…”Vote ’22 Part 3!”

I’m done; holla back!

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A Time for Giving Thanks, Redux ’22

It’s time to Break It Down! 

This is a vintage post, originally pinned November 24, 2010, and subsequently edited and re-posted every year since 2013, including November 27, 2013, November 26, 2014November 25, 2015November 23, 2016, November 22, 2017, November 21, 2018, November 27, 2019, November 25, 2020, and November 24, 2021.

Still, it was not a given that I would re-share this post today. As I weighed recent events, the SCOTUS decision not to intervene and prevent the House Ways and Means Committee from accessing former president Donald Trump’s tax returns loomed large. It is a huge setback for Mr. Trump, as lower courts had already rejected his arguments for shielding his returns. The Supreme Court was considered a last line of defense. Trump and his team, undoubtedly hoped, if not expected the conservative leaning Court (6 conservatives, three of them Trump appointees) to side with Trump. Alas, it did not. No dissenting opinions were registered. After earnestly deliberating the question of today’s topic, I put the matter to a vote. It was unanimous; me, myself, and I decided to go with Thanksgiving. 

As in the past, since it is Thanksgiving Week, this post will deviate from the standard fare. I know that travel schedules (in some cases impacted by weather events, and COVID-19, again this year), meal planning, family time, shopping, football, basketball, parades, and if there is any time remaining, relaxation, will be the dominant theme this week. However, it is Wednesday, so there shall be a blog.

Those among us who have perfected humility, and ascended to a genuine Nirvana state, have no doubt also elevated giving thanks to an art form. The rest of us must fully invest our appreciation in the notion, “That’s why we have Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, which kicks off what we commonly refer to as the Holiday Season. Almost instinctively, Thanksgiving and Christmas come to mind. Yet, there is so much more than that to the Season.

Over the next 54 days, many of us will enjoy succulent feasting at Thanksgiving, exchange gifts and contribute to the needy during Hanukkah. We will buy, give, exchange, and/or receive, and (in far too many instances) return gifts at Christmas, eat, drink, and celebrate the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, and party and toast the dawn of 2022 on New Year’s Day. We will honor the life and works of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on MLK Day. In addition, even in these tough (though improving) economic times, still further fraught with the consequences of coronavirus, further complicated by soaring inflation, and a roiled supply chain, this weekend, millions of Americans will pay (literally) homage to our most celebrated of shoppers’ holiday weekend, Black FridaySmall Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, by rising early, and proceeding to scour the aisles for those perfect gifts…and if not perfect, at least cheap, relatively speaking. There are even some precociously enterprising businesses that will start the shopping clock Thursday (though, fewer than in the recent past). Sigh!

In some previous years, I have recounted my reasons for being thankful. This year, like most, I find that I have more reasons than ever to sit contemplatively in humble repose, and affirm boldly, that I know, without caveat, not only the goodness, no the greatness of God, but also of his inestimable and inexhaustible beneficence. I thank Him for deliverance, and for imbuing me with the sense and sensibility to discern the distinction between Kairos and Chronos, Greek concepts for God’s time, and man’s time, respectively. In this the Year of our Lord and Savior, 2022, a.k.a. Year 6 A.D. (After Donald), I have again been reminded, God really does have a sense of humor. In accordance, I thank him dearly and daily for the wit of Stephen ColbertTrevor NoahDave Chappelle, and SNL. More important, I am thankful this moment also reflects Year 2 A.J. (After Joe)Amen!

Eons ago, when I was a college student, I pledged a fraternity. It is familiarly known as the Oldest, Boldest, and Coldest, but I digress. The point of this reference is that during the erstwhile pledge process, as prospective initiates, we were required to learn and recite several classic poems. There were many, each selected to convey a specific life lesson. Some of them have stayed with me, but none more than Invictus, written by English poet, William Ernest Henley (1849-1903).

The Latin translation for Invictus is Undefeated. You may recall it, but just in case, see it below:

Invictus (Latin for Undefeated) By William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

So, as you go about your way tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow, recognize that Thanksgiving, at its core, is not simply a day on the calendar. It is a spirit that dwells within each of us, an impulse that prompts us to thank God (for enabling us to be undefeated), and a level of insight that compels us to graciously share His blessings with our fellow men and women. Indeed, every day is “A Time for Giving Thanks, Redux ’22!”

I’m done; holla back!

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Make America Great Again, Again (MAGAA): Trump Announces

It’s time to Break It Down!

Election ’22 has come and gone, for the most part. We know Democrats will control the Senate, Republicans will take the House, Dems claimed several State Houses (Governorships), the Macs, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell will face challenges for their leadership positions, there’s a good chance Nancy Pelosi will retire, and oh yeah, Donald Trump is running for President in 2024, having announced his third bid.

At roughly 9:20 PM ET, last night, Donald J. Trump did what you knew was inevitable. He announced his candidacy for the Presidency in 2024. Two years in the making, Mr. Trump asserted that he plans to re-take the White House in two years. He submitted that he would accomplish this great turnabout using the cudgel of freedom, values, individual responsibility, and common sense.

During his announcement, Trump reprised his earlier, 2016, America First branding. He, of course, did not originate the phrase. The term originally referred to a policy stance in the United States that generally emphasizes nationalism and non-interventionism. The term was coined a century earlier, by President Woodrow Wilson in his 1916 campaign that pledged to keep America neutral in World War I. It was re-purposed in 1940 when The America First Committee (AFC) was founded to oppose U.S. involvement in World War II. Of course, in retrospect, neither of those efforts succeeded.

The reactions to Mr. Trump’s announcement were varied, and dependent upon a wide array of perspectives. The Fox News cohort, by all appearances, was excited. His announcement was aired during Sean Hannity’s show, likely by design, and amplified during the (Laura) Ingraham Angle. At the other end of the spectrum, some key elements of the GOP spectrum are articulating the position that moderate Republicans and independents pulled away from their candidates during the midterms, because they were mean, or embroiled in chaos, or enmeshed in election denial, in effect, preventing the Party from achieving its long anticipated Red Wave. Finally, many Democrats find the prospect of a Trump candidacy an appealing one.

Pundits and media mavens alike have long speculated on whether Trump would run in 2024. I’ve long contended he would run again. Why wouldn’t he? In 2020, he attracted more votes than any presidential candidate in the history of Presidential candidates, except for his opponent, Joe Biden. Hubris alone would likely be enough motivation. From the outside looking in, Mr. Trump certainly has other considerations. 

One of the things Trump established during his four years in office was that he is adept at using the precepts of the justice system to avoid, or at least delay, prosecution. At this juncture, prosecutors in multiple states and jurisdictions are building cases against the former President, and that doesn’t even include the January 6 Committee (which admittedly will soon be disbanded, or the Department of Justice, which could take action against him. Team Trump has endeavored to put a pleasant face on the decision to run, suggesting that Ron DeSantis’ increasing momentum threatens to put Trump at a decided disadvantage, if he didn’t act quickly to expedite his run.

Add to Governor DeSantis’ popularity, there are actually a few Republican elected officials who assign blame to Trump for stifling GOP advances during the midterm. The main accusatory theory of the case is that election deniers found sledding particularly difficult in last week’s election. Obviously, election denialism has been Trump’s calling card since prior to the 2020 election…and, of course, very much so, since then. It’s nearly two years until the 2024 Election. There is no certainty that Trump will be his Party’s nominee. But let’s face it; it could happen…”Make America Great Again, Again (MAGAA): Trump Announces!”

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The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month Redux ’22

It’s time to Break It Down!

Thirteen years ago, I wrote a post in recognition of Veteran’s Day, and the service personnel we as a nation honor on that day. In 2009, and again in 2015 when I reprised this post, Veterans Day fell on Wednesday. In 2018, the day fell on Sunday. In 2019, on Monday, and in 2020, on Wednesday. This year, the day falls on Friday. Although today is not Veterans Day, it’ll be here in a couple of days. I’ve decided once more, to edit/re-post the Veteran’s Day Edition of “Break It Down!”

Yesterday, of course, was Election Day. I could undertake a blow by blow of the outcomes, but the news with take care of making sure you get the A to Z. Meanwhile, back to my holiday norm. Many of you may know, or at least faintly recall that I frequently alter the blog format to integrate holiday traditions into the discussion. Often holidays are expanded by days away from work, long weekends, travel, and a host of leisure activities. In those cases, I prefer to scale back in recognition that aside from road map directions, GPS instructions, and the like, most of us do very little reading.

As most Americans know, this year marks the 104-year Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I, AKA “The Great War,” and/or, “The War That Ended All Wars.” At first, it was known as Armistice Day. It later became known as Veterans Day. But what do we really know about this day that has been set aside to honor real American heroes and sheroes?

Well, first, Veterans Day is not Memorial Day, and vice-versa. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day is intended largely to honor Living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. Memorial Day honors those veterans who died in the service of their country, particularly those killed in combat, or because of wounds sustained in battle.

We also know that Veterans Day is a different kind of federal holiday. Except for Sundays, it falls on its actual date. In 1968Congress approved the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law, which took effect in 1971, amended the observance of certain federal holidays so that Washington’s BirthdayMemorial DayColumbus Day, and Veterans Day would be observed on Mondays instead of on fixed dates.

Congress passed the Act to increase the number of three-day holiday weekends for federal employees. After a loud and persistent outcry from Veterans and Veterans’ groups, who argued the historical significance of November 11th was compromised by the change, Veterans Day observance was returned to November 11th in 1978.

So how did this affinity for November 11th come about? As with many historical facts, it evolved. As noted earlier, Veterans Day began as Armistice Day. The significance of Armistice Day is that it was the day of the signing of the Armistice that terminated World War I (WW I). In effect, WW I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That was when the Germans signed the document, ending hostilities that had begun in 1914President Woodrow Wilson subsequently proclaimed the first Armistice DayNovember 11, 1919.

WW I was deemed The Great War, and was thought by many, at the time, to be “The War That Ended All Wars.” It was, as the numeric designation suggests, the First World War. Of course, more wars would ensue. There was World War II (WW II), later the Korean Conflict, and then Vietnam.

In 1953, a storeowner in Emporia, KansasAl King, launched an idea to honor all Veterans, not just those who served in WW I. The idea took root, sailed through Congress, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law May 26, 1954Congress amended the Act November 8, 1954, changing Armistice to Veterans, and thus it has been ever since.

So now, especially remember…”The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month Redux ‘22!” To augment a popular bumper sticker, “If you can read this, thank a teacher”…and a veteran.

I’m done; holla back!

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Vote ’22 Part 2

It’s time to Break It Down!

Just as was the case last week; any week really, there’s a lot going on in the land. Many subjects would make for ripe, and interesting topics of conversation. Mr. Trump’s attorneys are said to be negotiating testimony by Trump, under oath, before the January 6 Committee, the Supreme Court ruled that Lindsey Graham must testify in the Georgia Inquiry, Liz Cheney hit the stump in Michigan…for a Democrat (Elissa Slotkin), Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was assaulted early Friday morning in their home; attacker was looking for the Speaker, and wanted to break her kneecaps, and to kill her if she didn’t admit to his version of the truth (according to his own testimony), Republicans, including Trump, and Trump, Jr. joked about the Pelosi incident, while the owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, shared a post from a noted conspiracy theory site to highlight the episode, Harvard University and the University of North Carolina are appearing before the Supreme Court in what is likely a last ditch effort to salvage some modicum of what’s left of race-conscious university admissions (Affirmative Action), in a Hail Mary that seems to have worked, at least in the short term, Chief Justice Roberts temporarily halted the release of Trump’s tax records, Mehmet Oz’s research was rejected in 2003, resulting in a two-year ban by the American Association of Thoracic Surgery, Twitter (under new management) is considering offering a new verification feature…for a price (possibly $8 a month, down from an earlier estimate of $20), and it’s November, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are coming. 

All 10 of those items might make someone’s Top 10. However, just like last week, I opine, none of them trumps (pun intended) the need to vote. Election Day is next Tuesday. North Carolina Early Voting began Thursday, October 20, and ends Saturday, November 5, at 3:00 p.m. If you’re a North Carolina resident, and you haven’t already voted; make a plan, and get it done.

As I indicated in last week’s post, I’m using my voice, last week and this week, and dedicating this space to urging you to vote. It’s my commitment, and your civic duty…”Vote ’22 Part 2!”

I’m done; holla back!

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