Congress stalled while America burns

Fareed: Washington Fiddles While the Country Burns

“Rarely has the metaphor been more apt,” Fareed writes in his latest Washington Post column: “Washington is fiddling while America burns.”

Negotiations over a second economic rescue package have stalled, and Fareed writes that the scale and nature of the problem seem to be going unappreciated, as the Covid-19 crash is unlike other economic crises resulting from more ordinary causes. “[P]eople who would happily buy and sell goods and services cannot do so for fear of infection,” Fareed writes. “It is a great paralysis more than a great depression.”

While some Republicans oppose spending more money, Fareed writes that borrowing is currently cheap, so the US may as well spend what it can. “Right now, the U.S. Treasury can issue 30-year bonds on which it pays less than 1.5 percent interest,” Fareed writes. “Democratic and Republican negotiators are apart by about $1 trillion, so that works out to annual interest payments of under $15 billion—less than 0.5 percent of last year’s federal budget. The F-35 fighter aircraft program costs more than breaking this gridlock and providing relief to the entire American economy.”


Get back to work! Don’t go on recess during Covid-19. Pass these bills. Let the country get running again. Fix the post office. Quit cheating. Quit being mob bosses.

How to help the US Postal Service for the November 3rd Election

How can we help the USPS in this next election” The postal service is being held hostage by the guy in the White House and his Postmaster General who knows nothing except how to do that guy’s bidding to cheat. Take responsibility for your precious vote. Deliver it to the Ballot Drop Box yourself. It works. Google where the boxes are and drop it off yourself. In San Jose the main box is at 1555 Berger Drive, San Jose, CA. There are boxes in many places and you can just drop it off at the voting place. Plan ahead. Vote early and drop it off at a Ballot Drop Off Box.

Ballot Drop Boxes Become Latest Front In Voting Legal Fights

A voter inserts a ballot in a drive-up drop box last week in Renton, Wash., in that state’s primary. With more states expanding absentee voting due to the pandemic, the use of drop boxes is growing and leading to legal challenges from some Republicans.

Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Many voters are worried about casting their ballots in person this November because of the pandemic. They’re also concerned that their mail-in ballots could be misplaced or delayed.

One voting option that’s gaining popularity — and also attracting controversy — is the use of drop boxes, where voters can deposit their absentee ballots to be collected later by election officials.

Elizabeth Dandridge was one of a steady stream of voters in Detroit last week who placed their ballots in one such box — a red, white and blue metal container on the sidewalk right outside the city’s main election office.

“I wanted to be sure that it was collected,” Dandridge said of her ballot. “Sometimes the mail’s delayed. I’m waiting on packages where people have sent me over two weeks ago, and they haven’t come.”

Michigan had hundreds of drop boxes available for its primary after more than 1 million voters decided to cast absentee ballots rather than go to the polls.

But those ballots needed to be received by 8 p.m. on election day, and many voters, such as Dandridge, didn’t want to rely on the post office. So far this year, tens of thousands of primary ballots have been rejected around the country because they arrived too late.

It’s a growing concern as the nation prepares for an unprecedented flood of absentee and mail-in voting in November amid funding cuts at the U.S. Postal Service and election offices struggling to meet demands.

Connecticut is using about 200 drop boxes for the first time in its primary Tuesday. Secretary of State Denise Merrill admitted the state was somewhat overwhelmed by a surge in requests for mail-in ballots. She said election offices were still trying to fill those requests a week before the election, leaving little time for voters to fill them in and send them back in the mail.

“There’s a lot of confusion just at the moment about when the ballots got mailed, to whom, when they’re going to arrive,” Merrill said. “It’s going to be very tight, and ballot boxes play an increasingly important role in all this because, you know, you shave off two, three, four, maybe five days from when you mail a ballot.”

But the boxes have also been controversial. A couple of Connecticut towns complained that having them outside and available to voters around the clock isn’t safe, even though many are protected with security cameras. (Read end of this story–an SUV tried to destroy a drop box and lost. Ballots and the Box survived!)

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett also told the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration recently that his state doesn’t allow drop boxes for fear voters might be pressured to vote a certain way.

“If someone knows you’ve got an absentee ballot, they can say, ‘Hey I’ll be glad to take that for you and drop that off for you.’ They can ask to watch you fill that ballot out or they cannot turn it in at all for you,” Hargett said. “We believe it’s a great security measure to have someone returning their own ballot by the United States Postal Service.”

Ballot boxes are under construction at Laserfab Inc.’s factory. The company says it’s seen a bump in orders this year as absentee voting has expanded.

Courtesy of Laserfab Inc.

The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have even gone to court to try to block Pennsylvania from using such boxes in November, arguing they could increase the chances for fraud.

Drop box supporters dismiss such concerns as completely unfounded. They note that drop boxes have been used in some states — such as Washington and Oregon — for years without problems.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the Senate committee that drop boxes are an important and convenient option for voters — especially this year.

“They complement the limited postal [services] that are available in communities and are just critical to providing access this season,” she said.

Access for whom is not clear. Researchers have found that drop boxes can boost overall turnout, but there’s no evidence — at least so far — that one party benefits over the other.

In the last presidential election, about 16% of voters nationwide used drop boxes, but they were concentrated in states such as Washington, Oregon and Colorado, where almost all voters cast absentee ballots. With so many states expanding vote by mail this year, election experts expect the overall share of people using drop boxes to be much larger.

Larry Olson of Laserfab Inc., a company in Puyallup, Wash., that makes boxes now used in 10 states, said demand is definitely on the rise. “I took a couple orders today,” he said, adding that he has about 100 more boxes to produce before November.

Enlarge this image

A ballot drop box made by Laserfab survived after an SUV plowed into it last year, the company says.

Courtesy of Thurston County, Wash., Auditor’s Office

Olson said he is confident that his company’s containers are more secure than the average mailbox, noting that the steel boxes are designed to be both water- and tamper-proof. The most popular one weighs about 600 pounds.

“And they’re bolted to the ground, so it’s not really something anybody can move easily,” he said.

Olson noted that an SUV plowed into one of Laserfab’s boxes last year in Lacey, Wash., and both the box and contents survived.

Reporter Eli Newman of NPR member station WDET contributed to this report.

Flyover of National Guard Fighter Wings May 13 Wednesday Today about 10:45 am to honor professional medical workers and others on the front line helping all of us through the Covid-19 pandemic.


medical facilities in the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Area, Bay Area and Southern California before returning to base. The jets will do a low pass at several locations including the Capitol, California Office of Emergency Services, and California Highway Patrol and Cal Fire Headquarters locations.

The jets are expected to be in and around Santa Clara at approximately 10:56 a.m. This time is subject to change based on weather and environmental considerations. As a result, jet noise is anticipated.

Residents should be able to see the flyover from the safety of their homes and should maintain all shelter-in-place and social distancing guidelines during the event. Please refrain from traveling to landmarks, hospitals or gathering in large groups to view the flyover.

Viewers are encouraged to tag the California Air National Guard with photos and video at #144FW#AmericaStrong and #CaliforniaNationalGuard.


Michelle Obama’s Documentary about Becoming-her book tour–charming, hopeful and a return to sanity.

If you have 90 minutes, watch this documentary. It will remind  you about what sanity looks like. Michelle Obama has such a gift of humor, intelligence, and is so well spoken and honest, it is a refreshing reminder of what we once had in leadership in this country. Perhaps we will be fortunate to capture it again if we have smart voters who actually vote.

Early on in “Becoming,” a new Netflix documentary about her life, Obama encourages Melissa Winter, her chief of staff, to express her emotions. They are in Chicago, the first stop of a 34-city book tour for her 2018 memoir (also called “Becoming”), and Obama, wearing an all white ensemble, is about to speak in front of a packed arena. For her, and those who have been on the journey with her, it’s overwhelming. “You don’t have to keep it together, you don’t have to. You can go ahead and cry your eyes out,” Obama says to Winter. “I can’t do that right now.” But one wonders if she ever could, or even would.

The film is being billed as a “rare and up-close look” at the former first lady’s life. But, whereas the memoir — through its deeply personal stories about Obama’s existential struggles in young adulthood and the pains of a miscarriage later on — offered a partial illumination of a woman who critics and admirers alike have tried to understand for years, the documentary feels more routine. It hits all the notes of a megastar choosing to share her life with the public: selective biographical moments and star-studded guest appearances, plus a healthy dose of motivational messaging about the virtues of education and the holistic ownership of personal narratives.

CeCe Moore-Genetic Detective Series begins Tuesday, May 19 10 pm ABC

View on Tuesday, May 19th 10 pm on ABC, Genetic Detectives with CeCe Moore will air. CeCe has worked with Henry Lewis Gates jr on Finding Your Roots on PBS.

“Genetic supersleuth CeCe Moore has solved some of the country’s most notorious cold cases from the comfort of her home.

Starting Tuesday, May 19, the renowned investigative genetic genealogist will show viewers exactly how she solves decades-old murder cases on ABC News’ new primetime series, The Genetic Detective.

Airing on Tuesdays from 10 to 11 p.m.  the series follows Moore, the Chief Genetic Genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia, and her team, who’ve helped solve more than 100 cold cases using crime scene DNA, state-of-the-art technology and Moore’s genealogy tracking skills.  Again, check your local listing. It may be at another time or day.

Moore’s work has helped revolutionize how crimes are now solved.

Using DNA left by an unknown suspect at a crime scene and collected by members of law enforcement, Moore and her team track down the suspect’s identity using DNA.

The Year of Reading: Independent Bookstores and Public Libraries

Independent Bookstores like Warwicks provide book authors a platform-Tune in to your local stores. Libraries have e-books. In California, you can get a library card for any public library.  La Jolla, CA You can join their Zoom authors talks.

Public Libraries offer online cards. Anyone can get a card online for any public library in California. (Not private libraries)  You can use for genealogy research.  Many libraries have Ancestry, Ancestral Quest and other portals for research. It is easy to sign up. Just register at any library. They give you a library number. You have to  keep this number to use what the library offers.  E-books abound.  Example: here is the link for Santa Cruz Library. They have

Sign up for an account at the Santa Cruz Library using this link: 
San Diego
Orange, CA
Los Angeles Public Library
Google your favorite libraries and get a card! So many books, so little time!

Sunset Selfies by John Marshall, so creative and charming.

Pandemic humor. Enjoy his books too!

Author, Community member

John is an Emmy award-winning television producer and writer. His new book, WIDE OPEN WORLD, was published by Random House and covers the six months he spent with his family, volunteering their way around the world. His “Sunset Selfies” have become an Internet sensation, featured everywhere from Rolling Stone Brazil to The Times of India. His latest creation, “Cowlimp” is a superhero with the powers of a cow.