To Control Women’s Bodies, Texas Empowers Bounty Hunters

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We interrupt our regular programming of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan to bring you this bulletin about the Taliban takeover in Texas.

It’s horrific that Texas, assisted by five Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court, has been unleashed to essentially overturn Roe v. Wade, to decree that abortions are illegal after only six weeks of pregnancy. When many women don’t even know they’re pregnant. With no exceptions for rape or incest.

But what’s arguably most chilling – and expect this particular infection to spread to other red states – is the provision that deputizes citizen vigilantes to enforce the ban and turn neighbor against neighbor.

Welcome to the thugocracy.

We’re already seeing it with the anti-mask mobs that are terrorizing school board members, compelling them to quit. We’re already seeing it on the streets with the “stolen election” goons who use their fists to buttress the big lie. And now, we have a “law” that codifies vigilante justice.

Am I exaggerating? Read on:

Any citizen anywhere is now hereby empowered to sue any “abettor” of any abortion that’s performed after six weeks of pregnancy. An “abettor” is defined as anyone who assists in any way – including a husband, boyfriend, mother, father, sister, clergy person, rape crisis counselor, friend who drives a woman to a clinic, friend who provides financial assistance, or certainly anyone at the clinic – doctor, nurse, desk receptionist. Any or all of those people can now be sued in any Texas court, and the bounty hunter will earn $10,000 per abortion.

It’s a veritable Taliban Lottery. Or the Salem Witch Hunt 2.0.

To help make it happen, the group Texas Right to Life is creating a “whistleblower” website where tipsters can inform on neighbors and other conspirators whom they suspect might be engaged in the criminal act of protecting female bodily autonomy.

You might be thinking, “Come on, this must be unconstitutional. The law of the land, as established by the Supreme Court in Roe and other cases, says that states can’t summarily ban abortions that are performed during the first 22-24 weeks of pregnancy.” But ah, you’re overlooking the Texas Republicans’ dark genius. They came up with some very clever wording. State officials are not responsible for enforcing this abortion ban (roughly 85 percent of Texas women who seek abortions are pregnant for more than six weeks), so they can’t be enjoined from enforcing it. Instead, the prospective bounty hunters are responsible for enforcement – but none of them have sued anyone yet. Therefore, the Texas ban can’t be challenged in court until an actual “abettor” is named, an “abettor” who’s willing to challenge it.

That logic might sound a tad twisted, something reminiscent of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, but it was predictably good enough for Trump’s three high court appointees, plus Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito. They decided that thug justice should not be impeded, at least until we see how things work out.

Fred Wellman, a 22-year military vet and current advisor to The Lincoln Project, can perhaps be excused for thinking the worst. He tweeted, “If you don’t see the inherent fascism in a law that allows anyone to accuse another citizen of an act for a $10,000 reward, whether they did it or not, you are absolutely deluded. This is a law that will turn Texas into Iraq under Saddam. Citizens turning each other in. It’s sick.”

Now that the high court has allowed Roe to be overturned via the proverbial back door, how long will it take for thug power to be codified in other red states? This day of reckoning has been a long time coming – with a big assist, along the way, from feckless Democrats who’ve never prioritized the composition of the Supreme Court as a first-tier issue and who’ve long been out-maneuvered by Republicans in state legislative races virtually everywhere.

Now we’re getting the usual calls for Democrats and progressives (stuck, as always, in reactive mode) to “mobilize,” to “rise up” against the burgeoning oppressors. Unless or until they can turn the tide, we have to ask whether it’s already too late, whether in fact we’re already on the road to a patchwork red state/blue state country, where bounty hunters cash in on the pregnant women who lack the money and means to cross a border.

I shudder to think what it might be like for them to live in a place where “my body, my choice” pertains only to the refusal to vaccinate.

Copyright 2021 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at [email protected]

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Trump’s Followers Deserve a Better Conclusion

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“I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together and find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity. … Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans and please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.” – John McCain, from his 2008 concession speech to President Barack Obama

In sports, most of the historic speeches made by coaches all had one thing in common. They came from coaches who won.

Nobody would have cared about the story of winning one for the Gipper if, well, the Irish hadn’t won one for the Gipper. Team USA Hockey Coach Herb Brooks was immortalized for his inspirational words before a hockey match against the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics, but it took a “miracle” for them to mean anything.

In politics, it’s a little different.

Dating all the way back to 1896 when William Jennings Bryant, who is credited with initiating the American tradition of concession speeches, the losers of America’s presidential elections play a key role in an even more important tradition – the peaceful transition of power that sets the United States apart in the world.

It’s not just an opportunity to be a patriot, but a chance to help the nation heal and unite. Equally important is for the loser to wish the winner well because it’s in the best interests of all American citizens.

What is also important is a recognition to all the people who worked to support the losing candidate during the campaign and those citizens who offered their loyalties.

So far, Trump has lost the moment. He lost the ability to stand in front of America, take credit for his historic political rise that will be analyzed for generations, graciously bring an end to his tenure by congratulating Joe Biden, and thank all the people who either battled with him during the campaign or fiercely defended him with vigor in towns from coast to coast.

There are adjectives to describe what the president is now doing. Damaging. Desperate. Calculating. Dividing.

I choose to describe it as disrespectful.

It is not only disrespectful to the mighty office that he holds, and the new president-elect, it is disrespectful to the millions of people who support him. They deserve their moment, too, to be recognized as players in a political movement that was – and continues to be – one of the most powerful in American history.

But for them to have their moment in the sun and be recognized for their contributions, there has to be a recognition that a smooth transition from one administration to the next is what has always been expected from all Americans.

The ridiculous notion that the election was stolen or somehow illegitimate is nothing more than political theater aimed at the most gullible and naive among us. It’s also a premeditated action to position the president’s machine for the next chapter, whatever that may be.

For there to be another chapter in the Trump story – and there surely will be – its success will likely rest on whether Americans have confidence that President Trump truly does care about the nation and its people. Because if he does, there is one path forward, and one alone.

It’s time to shut it down.

It’s time for him to do his duty. It’s time for him to recognize that the quality of the transition from the Trump presidency to the Biden presidency will be a direct reflection on him and the team he has assembled. The responsibility of a smooth transition rests with President Trump and a clumsy one – which would be damaging to the nation – would be his to own.

It’s not too late to ensure a smooth transition, not too late for him to have his moment in the sun, not too late to congratulate Joe Biden, not too late to give his team members and followers the credit they desire.

Anything less is not only a stain on the president’s legacy and brand, but is a disrespectful exit that is beneath the office and beneath the expectations of the American people.

Copyright 2020 Rick Greene. Greene is an award-winning columnist and editorial writer, and the editor and publisher of Southern Ohio Today. Greene can be reached at [email protected]

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Have You Mailed Your Veterans Day Cards Yet?

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Veterans Day parades? Veterans Day school essays? Veterans Day ceremonies on the courthouse lawn? Star-spangled Veterans Day memes on social media? Platitude-enhanced newspaper editorials?

Sure, I’m familiar with all those expressions of patriotism and appreciation; but until I stumbled across a certain article the other day, I had been blissfully ignorant of the widespread availability of Veterans Day CARDS.

Whether you use a preprinted card, customize an online template or create a unique masterpiece totally from scratch, this is an outstanding way to let our nation’s defenders know they are not forgotten.

Speaking of store-bought cards, it’s unfortunate that the Hallmark Channel is always already wall-to-wall Christmas movies even before the jack-o’-lantern is consigned to the compost heap. It would be heartwarming to have a week-and-a-half of early-November movies in which Candace Cameron Bure and other Hallmark stars find romance on the obstacle course or save the town ammunition depot from being replaced with a mall. (“I don’t know about atheists in foxholes, but there’s a chaplain in this one! It’s military wedding time!”)

I’m slowly sorting through a stack of correspondence between my late father and his mother from when draftee Dad was in the U.S. Army. (I’m sure the newspaper clippings and neighborhood gossip from Granny Tyree helped take the sting out of the “Dear John” letter he received.) Such mail between flesh and blood is a good starting point, but don’t limit yourself to kinfolk.

Friends and neighbors who did a tour of duty should certainly be thanked for their sacrifice, whether it was last year or two generations ago. Total strangers being treated in a faraway VA hospital could also use the ray of sunshine provided by the gesture of a Veterans Day card.

And let’s not forget active servicepeople and their families. When my mother talks about some hectic endeavor, she tends to use the phrase “dragged from pillar to post.” And surely no one gets dragged around like military families. A sincere card would mean so much among the bills and junk mail.

Even a “value-priced” professional card can be the high point of someone’s day, but challenge yourself to personalize your cards. Not everyone is a polished wordsmith (as I demonstrate on a weekly basis), but perhaps venturing out of your comfort zone will give you a slightly better rapport with those who face or faced constant danger.

“Diligence,” “selfless,” “resilience” and “greater purpose” are some of the recurring words used in Veterans Day cards; but I’ll bet you could express your pride and appreciation even better with a more conversational tone and more intimate anecdotes. Be bawdy, be mushy, be vulnerable, be REAL.

IF you’re going to be taking the personal route, why not go whole hog with the “Christmas letter” approach? (You know the sort of insufferable letter I’m talking about: page after page of humble-brag recitations of dream vacations, promotions and genius children.) Crow about all the things that are going right in your life – and after each and every one of them, pause to acknowledge that your freedom and achievements wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifices of the military.

COVID-19 has hobbled many of the traditional ways of celebrating Veterans Day (including hugging a veteran), but 2020 might be a good time to become part of the new tradition of sending Veterans Day cards to our heroes.

Copyright 2020 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

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Conservative Female Role Models Take the Spotlight

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At the beginning of the Senate confirmation hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Lindsay Graham observed that it was a great moment for young conservative women, because they finally had someone who they could look to as a role model on the highest court in the land.

Graham was on to something. Conservative women have been called “not the right kind of women” for years in the mainstream media and among those who always talk about “empowering” the sisters. Some have even questioned whether we even have the right to call ourselves women, while others have come right out and said we are traitors to the gender.

In my own district here in Pennsylvania, we have the opportunity to elect a woman to Congress who reflects many of the principles and ideals of women on the right side of the aisle. While the woman I have in mind intends to serve the interests of all of her future constituents, she reflects values, policies and principles that have been too long ignored among those who tout the power of our shared gender.

Dasha Yermakova Pruett, a child of Soviet refugees, is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon in the 5th Congressional District. Dasha is someone who appreciates what it means to live under a regime where the government rations out liberties and rights under the guise of protecting our welfare.

“I am having a flashback to my childhood, growing up under socialism. During this pandemic and watching the government overreach, the artificial food shortage because of the regulations on our farmers.” Dasha told me. “I’m alarmed at the threat to our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, as well as every amendment related to voting. This is socialism. These are dangerous times, slippery slopes.”

Dasha is not alone in feeling this way, but there seems to be an attempt to create a narrative that women are “all in” for leaders who believe we can impose arbitrary restrictions and exert almost unchecked power during a public health crisis. They seem to think that we collectively favor “big government” because, well, that’s what progressives do. The idea that a woman could actually be a conservative rarely enters their minds, and when it does, we are usually viewed as being aberrational.

We are not aberrations. Donald Trump won the votes of white women in the last election, which is interesting considering that a white woman was running against him. But even if you take Trump out of the mix, there has been this effort on the part of mainstream pundits and party spokespersons to marginalize the voices and votes of conservative women, be they white, minority, young or old.

Kathy Barnette is a Black woman challenging Madeleine Dean in Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District, which includes large swaths of Montgomery County. I have met a slew of young women like Barnette who believe that life begins at conception. We are out here, all of us, and we are tired of being represented by those who do not reflect our concerns.

A woman who fought that stereotype of the liberal woman being the “only” sort of acceptable female was Phyllis Schlafly. I interviewed her daughter Anne Schlafly Cori a few months ago and asked her about how her mother was able to square her very public, independent profile with her embrace of traditional values such as motherhood and the family.

“My mother viewed the family as a pleasure, not a burden,” Cori said. “She felt that being at home gave herself enormous freedom to engage in the activities of her choice, because she did not have a boss. She objected to Betty Friedan calling the home ‘a comfortable concentration camp.’ Phyllis Schlafly’s message was one of optimism and opportunity for women.”

I don’t like identity politics. But ideology is something different from race, creed or gender. It is important to have diversity of thought in the public square, and Graham was right in noting that finally, young women will have a mirror which reflects their own ideological identities on the Supreme Court.

Hopefully, congressional districts, including our own, will have that same opportunity.

Copyright 2020 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected]

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How Maureen Reagan ‘Packed’ the Supreme Court

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Making Sense By Michael Reagan

Watching the Senate confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett reminded me of the promise my father made to my sister Maureen to put the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s a great piece of POTUS-SCOTUS history I haven’t told in many years.

Democrats and the media said a lot of nice things this week about the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal icon who in 1993 became the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court.

But I don’t remember hearing anyone – unfortunately, including the Republican senators – pay homage to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, or to my father Ronald Reagan, who put her there in 1981.

My father made his promise to my sister Maureen during the Republican primaries of 1980, when she was simultaneously campaigning for his campaign and the Equal Rights Amendment.

My father’s campaign team thought it was not a good idea for Maureen to be a public advocate for the ERA, since the Republican Party was against it at the time.

In fact, they were so concerned that my father might lose Republican votes in the primaries and not get the presidential nomination that the advisors called Maureen into campaign headquarters.

Lyn Nofziger, Mike Deaver, my father and several others in the office discussed with Maureen how they could get her off the campaign trail.

When they were done talking, Maureen looked at the staffers and said:

“If you can get your candidate to promise me that if elected the first person he will nominate to the Supreme Court will be a woman, I will stop campaigning for the ERA today.”

Their candidate – our father – said, “Deal” and reached out his hand. He and my sister shook on it.

Later in the summer of 1980 at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, when Maureen and her friends showed up wearing big “ERA” pins, the campaign staff thought that she had gone back on her promise and they were upset.

But if you looked closely at that “ERA” button, its fine print said, “Elect Reagan Anyway.”

During the campaign against Jimmy Carter my father said if he was elected he’d put a woman on the Supreme Court, and less than a year later he kept his promise to his daughter and the voters and chose Justice O’Connor.

So when people look back and thank the people who put the first woman on the Supreme Court, you can look to Ronald Reagan, but you also have to look to Maureen Reagan.

Maureen was tough as nails and she was brave. Can you imagine anyone doing what she did today?

Ronald Reagan with three staffers on either side, and they’re all telling her she has to get off the trail because it’ll hurt the campaign – and she has the courage to say, “OK, I understand. But here’s my deal….”

Only seven people knew that story. All of them but me are gone.

My sister, who died of cancer on Aug. 8, 2001 at age 60, shared what happened at that meeting with me on the day it happened. We talked a lot during my father’s campaigns and through the 1990s.

Maureen stood up to everyone, even her stepmother Nancy Reagan, and she had more courage than anyone in the Republican Party.

She used to say things like, “The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that it’d take the Republicans a week longer to become communists.”

She’d be right at home in the current political madness.

And she’d have a right to be proud that she did something in 1980 that helped make it possible that someday we’d get a Supreme Court Justice with the brains and class of Amy Coney Barrett.

Oh, how I wish my sister Maureen were alive today


Copyright 2020 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald Reagan.” He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to [email protected] Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.
Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns contact Sales at [email protected]

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Too Many of the Wrong Tests and None of the Right

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After an early bureaucratic disaster – the feds banned private sector tests and failed to deliver a test that worked – the U.S. has ramped up testing to astronomical levels, dwarfing the rest of the world and any historical comparison.

We now average about 1.5 million tests per flu season, and we’ve now run over 57 million tests for COVID-19. But have all those tests delivered what proponents of mass testing promised? Have they contained the spread and restored public confidence that infectious people are at home, not out and about?

Absolutely not. In fact, by the time most test results are available, the people who were positive are no longer infectious. The tests serve no actual infection control purpose. And the tests that actually would make all the difference are still banned by the FDA.

The CDC reports that most infected people are no longer infectious six to ten days after symptom onset. People with very severe disease can be infectious longer – up to 20 days – but people with severe disease aren’t waiting for a test result to find out if they are sick and self-isolate. The CDC also reports, however, that even though they have never found live, infectious virus three weeks after symptom onset, the so-called gold standard PCR tests we have been using can show positive based on non-infectious viral debris for up to 12 weeks.

So the mass, industrial-scale testing we’re doing – with several days turnaround time – isn’t letting infectious people know they are positive quickly enough to alter their behavior. And many of the positives are likely meaningless artifacts of months-old infections. It feeds a mass public panic but accomplishes little else.

The tests that we actually need are instant tests that people could take themselves and get results in the morning, confidently going about their daily activities knowing they are not infectious. These tests, paper antigen tests, have been developed by a team at MIT that applied for FDA approval back in March. There are several companies ready to mass produce them with FDA approval, and unlike the PCR tests that cost around $100 per test, the paper antigen tests could cost as little as $2, making daily self-testing cost effective for most Americans.

In an astonishing display of government stupidity, the FDA’s objection to the paper antigen tests is based on precisely the characteristic that makes them vastly superior to the PCR tests – they are far less sensitive. FDA has used the extreme sensitivity of the PCR tests as a benchmark and refused to issue emergency use authorizations for less sensitive tests. But a test that is so sensitive that it picks up viral debris for months is not a useful tool to prevent infection.

A less sensitive test that is calibrated to show positive when a person is actually infectious is far more useful. That makes the paper antigen tests not only cheaper and faster but better than the 57 million PCR tests that have become a national obsession.

From the beginning the FDA has made a total mess of testing. Last week they finally introduced a new application for at-home testing. They should approve applications from credible paper antigen test manufacturers as soon as possible – they really should have done it months ago.

Copyright 2020 Phil Kerpen, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Phil Kerpen is the president of American Commitment and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. Kerpen can be reached at [email protected]

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CBO Won’t Hide Biden’s Government Takeover of Health Care

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It became a major scandal when Philadelphia-based researcher Rich Weinstein uncovered video of Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, saying: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”

The quote became famous but was widely misunderstood; he was not referring to the penalty versus tax question, on which Chief Justice John Roberts would later uphold the law. The issue was whether the payment for a mandatory government insurance program should be scored as tax revenue – like Social Security or Medicare premiums – or considered private sector payments. This is crucial because a program scored as taxes and spending is transparently a government takeover, with potentially trillions of dollars shifted from the private sector to government.

There’s bad news for Joe Biden’s current plan. As Biden explained: “I’d bring back the individual mandate… and here’s the deal. We’re in a situation where if you provide an option for anybody who in fact wants to buy into Medicare for All, they can buy in.”

It’s hard to see how a mandate paired with a government plan could be scored by CBO as anything but taxes and spending.

The relevant CBO document is a report from May of 2009.

Biden’s Medicare-for-All public option would unambiguously be scored as a government program, even if he tried to dress it up as a nonprofit. But what about the mandatory purchase of putatively private insurance under the Biden scheme? Could tortured language exclude that from the CBO score? Probably not this time.

The central framework of Obamacare, an individual mandate to buy a tightly regulated but notionally private insurance product, was a close call for CBO. Gruber, Pelosi, and Obama got away with it based the expectation that there would be many different companies in the exchanges (which in most of the country has not occurred) and on the lack of a public option.

Once Biden adds his public option, the whole program clearly becomes taxes and spending, exposing the massive expansion in the size of government expressly to the American people:

“In CBO’s view, a requirement that individuals purchase health insurance combined with tight federal constraints on the market for such insurance or a dominant role for a public plan would constitute a fundamentally governmental system, reflecting the exercise of the government’s sovereign power. In those situations, premiums appearing in the budget – for a public plan or for insurance purchased through exchanges or in the private market – should be recorded as federal revenues.”

If CBO sticks to this standard, Biden will lose the principal advantage of the public plan strategy – its ability to camouflage from American voters that it leads directly to forcing everyone into a one-size-fits-all government plan by creating the illusion of allowing a choice of private plans.

The “public option” strategy for ending private insurance is to set it up in a rigged competition with a government-run plan that can absorb losses indefinitely and can use the power of government to dictate below market prices to doctors and hospitals – as Joe Biden dot com puts it: “the Biden public option will reduce costs for patients by negotiating lower prices from hospitals and other health care providers.” Simultaneously, private plans would be subject to regulations by the same government that is competing with them.

Americans would have the illusion of being able to keep their private insurance for a while, but would all eventually end up in the single payer government plan.

Some have said that makes the public option a Trojan Horse for single payer, but Yale professor Jacob Hacker, the inventor of the plan, disputed that characterization to a 2008 audience at the liberal Tides Foundation: “Someone once said to me, ‘Well, this is a Trojan horse for single payer.’ I said, ‘Well, it’s not a Trojan horse, right? It’s just right there! I’m telling you!'”

Unfortunately for Biden, if the CBO follows its own guidelines on the issue, no amount of torturing legislative language will get him a score that conceals his intention to have government take control of American health care.

Copyright 2020 Phil Kerpen, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Phil Kerpen is the president of American Commitment and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. Kerpen can be reached at [email protected]

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Have Nature’s Screechers Ever Invaded Your Home?

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Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

A man’s home is his castle – but sometimes the crocodile in the moat decides he wants to try out the bathtub instead.

At my day job working in inventory control, one guiding principle is “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

Too bad wild animals aren’t as easily pigeonholed as nuts and bolts.

A string of recent events helped me settle on this week’s tirade. My wife replaced the window screen that had been shredded by an impulsive raccoon. A bird kept flying down my mother’s chimney. Yet another (non-poisonous) snake slithered into our lives. A young opossum surprised us in the laundry room (thank goodness for stain-removing detergent!) and seemed to lament being part of a species that is so typecast. (“I’m tired of playing possum. When do I get a chance to play Othello?”)

Of course, we weren’t satisfied with this level of commotion, so my wife unsuspectingly opened the front door for Moggie the cat one fine evening, and he came bounding into the room with a live rabbit clenched between his teeth. (Apparently Moggie was trying to make some money on the side with a “hare-bnb” lodging venture.)

It could be worse. So far, the coyotes in our neck of the woods have stayed away, but only because we keep all those fake boxes of Acme anvils sitting on the front porch.

Perhaps we should’ve been prepared for this series of events by what happened at my son’s high school back in the winter.

It was woodland mating season and a buck deer apparently mistook his reflection for a romantic rival. (Speaking of possums, the buck seemingly heeded the words of comic strip character Pogo Possum: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”) He came charging across the street toward the school, smashed through the front door, galumphed through the hallways (tangled up in a garbage can) and exited via the back door. He was undoubtedly telling himself, “NEXT mating season I’ll just compete by using a disco shirt, a gold medallion and a cheesy moustache.”

The mommas of undomesticated animals seem to be sending the wrong message. (“You’re spending too much time with fresh air and sunshine. Why don’t you try chewing on some computer cables or something?”)

You’ll notice I haven’t even mentioned the mundane categories of pests such as rodents, spiders, ants, moths and ladybugs. Such critters can stir up some real moral dilemmas, as well as perplexing math problems. (“If mouse A is chewing south at one mile per hour and mouse B is chewing north at two miles per hour – is it still okay to eat the Cap’n Crunch in the middle of the bag?”)

I face a never-ending need for repellents, traps, crack sealant and the like. Or maybe I need to counter animal inclinations with an advertising blitz. Nature writers tout the splendors of the Great Outdoors, but the creatures that actually LIVE out there seem enamored of the Great Linen Closet or the Great Crawlspace.

After you get beaten down by the inevitability of varmints slipping through your defenses, you try too hard to look on the bright side. (“There are good bacteria. Maybe there are good rabid skunks.”)

Perhaps things will get better for me. And for that young thespian possum. (“I’m taking Othello on the road. On the road? No, wait…Aaaaaaaaahhhhh!”)

Copyright 2020 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

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Making a Garage Saler

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Garage sales are a little ridiculous if you think about it. As a society we spend untold millions trying to protect the sanctity of our homes from intrusion, and then we hold garage sales, where the entire point is to lure nosy strangers onto our property to rummage through our personal belongings.

I spend most of my time at garage sales fighting off my three daughters from hauling merchandise back into the house. And let’s face it – the stuff we put up for sale at these events is one “Thanks for coming” away from the city dump. I mean, who really wants to purchase a Target sack full of used My Little Pony underwear? (Oh, never mind, I actually got a dollar for those. )

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are certain types of folks who attend my garage sales, and what better way to show how “woke” I am than to categorize people.

The Early Bird

In this case, The Early Bird is a vulture, or, as we call them in East Texas, a “buzzard. ” They’re the shoppers who can’t wait for you to open your garage door at 7 a. m. and have apparently been sleeping on the lawn. On the first day of my most recent sale, they actually began opening boxes that I hadn’t put out yet, helping me arrange them. It was as if they felt sorry for my having to get up so early. And they should!As the old saying goes, “The early bird gets the slightly-stained Justin Bieber bedroom set. ”

The Lingerer

This is the shopper who apparently enjoys my company (or the aroma of my garage) because he or she won’t leave. Recently, a Lingerer spent at least a full hour carefully examining every one of the 700,000 articles of tween girls’ clothing I had for sale, and she eventually purchased a single pair of socks for a dime. She was there so long I’ll probably be able to claim her as a dependent on my next tax return.

The Childcare Deflector

Warning! If you include even a single toy in your garage sale, weary mothers with at least sixteen children each will use you for babysitting. While The Childcare Deflector leisurely browses through a massive box of mismatched Tupperware, her army of children will violate every known Hasbro safety guideline. The Childcare Deflector is oblivious to the chaos visited upon my inventory by her progeny (or at least pretends to be), and she buys nothing, not even a single warped Tupperware lid.

The Haggler

Hagglers are seasoned garage sale shoppers who imagine they’re trading in the bazaars of Istanbul. They can bring down the price on a gently-used toilet seat from a dollar to a nickel, and they’re fully aware that you might actually pay them to haul away this junk.

The Announcer

The Announcer is almost always a middle-aged man, usually wearing a white t-shirt he outgrew in the 1980’s, suspenders and camouflaged cargo shorts. About halfway up the driveway, he bellows, “I’m lookin’ for guns and tools!”I then have to admit that the only two guns I own were sympathy gifts from my dad (and I’m not exactly sure where they are), and most of my tools are still in their original packages. The Announcer does buy a box of doorknobs.

The Last-Minute

The Last-Minute catches you by surprise as you’re sweeping the garage and packing up what’s left. You haven’t had a shopper for an hour, and you’re contemplating your next trip to Walmart where you’ll blow everything you earned at the sale on ham and deodorant. The Last-Minute always morphs into The Lingerer, so you sweat for another hour and earn a whole quarter on a NASCAR coffee cup.

Once the Last-Minute finally tears himself away, I sprint to put down the garage door. I still have some work ahead packing and cleaning, but I always feel a strong sense of satisfaction at what I’ve accomplished. In fact, I usually start planning my next sale.

I have to hurry, though. The buzzards are already setting up tents on the lawn.

Copyright 2019 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected] net.

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