It is hard to believe, but after the deep freeze of last week, temperatures are rising to a balmy 47 degrees in Detroit and Chicago. Much of the Dakotas and Minnesota are still hovering near or just below zero, but according to my friend in South Dakota, that is a warm spell.
Here in my corner of Northeast Texas it is going to be 77 today. I’m not sure if I should cheer or say, “Yikes!” And some of my friends in deep East Texas have posted that the daffodils are popping up in the pastures. I do miss seeing those flowers covering acres of meadow land as I drove along country roads.
Two things of note in the news today. First is the on again off again admission by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam about whether it is him in that controversial yearbook picture. When the photo of a man in blackface standing next to a man in a KKK robe first surfaced, Northam apologized for it, saying that he was sorry for “the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”
Then on Saturday, Northam stepped back from that statement and said that after studying the picture more closely, that wasn’t him. He went on to say that he had worn blackface in the past but it was part of a costume to compete in a Michael Jackson contest. Never mind that wearing blackface would not have made Northam look anything like Michael Jackson.
What I find most disturbing about this, beyond the lying and double-speak, is the fact that Northam really expects people to believe that he could forget posing in blackface in the first place. That happened in 1984 for goodness sakes, at a time when awareness of sensitivities and sensibilities was on the rise. It wasn’t back in the 50s when people were able to get away with such open displays of racism. And he was an intelligent, well-educated man, not some redneck deep in the hills of Appalachia.
Give us a break, Governor Northam.
In other news are the peace talks with the Taliban and government leaders in Afghanistan. The talks will take place in Moscow, starting tomorrow, bringing together Afgan leaders and former president Hamid Karzai. The U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding separate negotiations with the Taliban since September.
Since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Washington has spent more than $1 trillion on the war in Afghanistan. And for what? So now the Taliban have taken over the entire country and continue to inflict pain and suffering on the people through terrorist attacks.
Just to keep some facts clear, the Taliban and al Qaeda are not the same. Al Qaeda is a global terrorist movement with the United States (including the American homeland) as a prominent, if not the primary, target. The Taliban is a Pashtun political movement with a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan’s largely Pashtun border-region.
Al Qaeda, under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, was responsible for the attack on 9/11, and two weeks after the military response of Operation Enduring Freedom started in October, President Bush rejected an offer by the Taliban to turn bin Laden over if the U.S. would cease bombing in Afghanistan.
At that point, the Taliban was defeated in Afghanistan, and the U.S. could have negotiated from a position of power. Because that offer was rejected, the war continued and the Taliban eventually gained power in the country.
Here is a LINK for more details about the timeline of the war since the U.S. involvement. Quite an interesting read, especially for those of us who only recall fragments of news stories revolving around that war, as well as the beginning of the war in Iraq that diverted attention away from Afghanistan.
On a brighter note. Here is a cute joke that a friend sent me:
One day, the Lord called to Adam in the Garden of Eden and said, “It is time for you and Eve to begin the process of populating the earth so I want you to kiss her.”
Adam answered, “Yes Lord, but what is a kiss?”
So the Lord gave a brief description to Adam who took Eve by the hand and took her to a nearby bush. A few minutes later, Adam emerged and said, “Thank you Lord, that was enjoyable!”
And the Lord replied, “Yes Adam, I thought you might enjoy that and now I’d like you to caress Eve.”
And Adam said, “What is a caress?”
So the Lord again gave Adam a brief description and Adam went behind the bush with Eve. Quite a few minutes later, Adam returned, smiling, and said, “Lord, that was even better than the kiss.”
The Lord said, “You’ve done well, Adam. And now I want you to make love to Eve.”
Adam asked, “What is ‘make love’ Lord?”‘
So the Lord again gave Adam directions and Adam went again to Eve behind the bush, but this time he reappeared in two seconds.
Adam said, “Lord, what is a headache?”
Bada Bing! That’s all for me for today, folks. I do hope your week starts off on a good note. Be safe. Be happy.