July Letters to Jim: Global Warming, Juneteenth, the Filibuster and More

Listen to this article

CovidYou illustration by Tim Forkes

Masks are gone, summer is in full swing, and the fan mail is piling up. Let’s look at what’s on the minds of my followers and see what I have to say in response.

Dear Jim,

Is it me or does this summer seem hotter than usual?  Is this heat due entirely to global warming and if so, what do you think can be done about it?  Thanks.

Stuck in Hell

Dear Stuck,

I feel bad telling people I am enjoying a very pleasant summer. To date, I think the mercury has hit 90 degrees just once and often, the mornings are cool and overcast.  Ah, life near the coast.

That said, we have been hit with some much higher than normal temps. It’s not just here in the states, but everywhere. Recently, a town in Siberia recorded a temperature of 118 degrees. There’s not enough vodka to make a person forget how hot that feels.

There is no doubt we are experiencing global warming. As to the cause, I am not one to say this is all man made. There is enough evidence that our planet goes through cycles of warmer and cooler temperatures (think ice ages as the opposite of what we are experiencing now). Still, man has done more than its share to add to our heat woes.

Oceanside Beach, CA
(Tim Forkes)

The more the planet moves toward reliance on green energy, the better off we all are. I also feel our country has long missed the boat on making a bold move toward green energy and will forever play catch up to the mostly smaller nations who are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprints.

Nearly half a century ago, when OPEC was holding us hostage with what we called the oil crisis, or as I like to think of it as us being too smug to believe we should be the ones to call the shots on the price of the foreign oil that we purchased, our country had an opportunity to change the direction the entire world headed towards with a push for renewable and cheap energy. Rather than making the move toward more solar, wind, and cleaner forms of energy, after the oil crisis, we simply returned to the way life was as if it would never happen again (sort of like what we are doing now after pandemic restrictions have been lifted).

Try to imagine what our nation would be like today if we stood up to big oil in the 70’s and began changing our entire energy focus. Today, we would be valued leaders of the world and making great inroads and strong allies while helping nations reduce their carbon footprint instead of those countries showing us how it is done.  We’d be rid of our dependency on the middle eastern oil pushers who keep us hooked on a product that is killing us.

Instead, big oil is now BIG OIL and wants us to think they should be left to oversee the move toward cleaner energy. This is like criminals telling the public they should be trusted to run law enforcement or politicians being trusted to solve the problems they are creating.

Until we can own up to our past mistakes and commit to all the possibilities, benefits, and savings of a new approach to energy use, our nation will be left in the dust of our increasingly parched wasteland.

Dear Jim,

What was your reaction to the declaration making Juneteenth our newest federal holiday? What do you think should be the next national holiday? 

Taking the Day Off

Dear TTDO,

I have no problem with recognizing Juneteenth with a federal holiday.  My only concern is it cuts into Father’s Day. Fathers already get the short end of recognition.

As to what should be our next federal holiday, that’s easy.  When I ran for president in 2016, I promised then to make Groundhog Day a federal holiday. Winter is depressing enough. Knowing that a groundhog is almost always going to see its shadow resulting in another six weeks of winter, it seems to make sense to give folks a paid day off so they can stay home and do what Americans love to do most with their free time; get drunk and forget about reality.

I also like the idea of Halloween being a federal holiday just so parents must stay home and deal with their sugar high brats rather than sending them to school. There is no reason not to make Super Bowl Weekend a three-day affair. Who gets any work done the day after the big game, especially when your team lost, and you bet big?

Mostly, I think we just need to move to a four-day work week because after all, Americans do not care what the federal holiday recognizes, they just like having the extra day off. Four ten-hour workdays are better than five eight-hour days.

Dear Jim,

Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders recently came out and as the first openly gay football player. Was he brave to do this, or do we even care what athletes identify as anymore?

Raider Fan

Dear Raiders Fan,

It seems we have so much concern over transgenders competing in sports that today no one cares if a football player comes out gay. Was he brave for doing this? No. He was just sensible enough to see through all the BS we create over who is a what and all that goes with it. Female athletes have come out gay for years and no one cares. Men in less popular sports have come out without any fanfare. There is no reason a football player coming out should be a big deal. The idea that a big, rugged, male can only be straight was pretty much shot out of the water by Hollywood decades ago.

What I find more interesting is Nassib’s jersey, a seldom bought item by football fans, quickly became the fastest selling jersey in the NFL. I am sure this has Roger Goodell thinking what else can the NFL do to cash in on a gay fan base. I am also curious to see how well this goes over with Nassib’s teammate and homophobic goon, Richie Cognito.

Dear Jim,

Should Democrats do away with the filibuster to get their agenda passed? It seems pointless electing any political party to power if they are not going to use it to fulfill their promises?


Dear Frustrated,

Have you considered Democrats might be a little leery to push through all their promises because if they do and things go south, they will be voted out as fast as they were voted in, and we will see the GOP just undo it all?  Believe it or not, some politicians prefer to run a campaign based on finger pointing and fear mongering more than having to answer for their record.

That said, I think Democrats need to do away with it. There is no law saying we must have a filibuster so just do away with it and know when you win, you get the spoils and when you lose, the other side gets them.

Besides, it is not as if the GOP plays fair. They kept Obama from nominating a Supreme Court justice and then filled it with their own claiming it should wait for after the election. Four years later, they did an about face saying they had the right to fill it during an election. Politics is dirty and if one side is unwilling to yield the clout they have when the other uses theirs to stall, block, and overthrow democracy, the majority side is of no use.

Americans voted for change in 2020 and Democrats owe it to them to deliver on the change they promised.

Dear Jim, 

What annoys you the most about summer? Is it the crowds, the heat, or the knowing the long days will be replaced by colder and darker ones ahead?

Summer Fan

Dear Summer Fan,

None of those things bother me. The only thing I find wrong with summer is it seems to spur the push of something called, “Yacht Rock.”  I have no idea who coined this, but that person should be arrested. It is the most hideous musical genre since elevator music, and it needs to stop. I enjoy a breezy summer tune now and then, but the crap that plays on Yacht Rock stations is nothing more than the worst soft rock tunes from the 70’s.  It was annoying then and it still is today.

Dear Jim, 

The Harlem Globetrotters have petitioned to become the next NBA franchise. Do you think they could win more games than NBA teams that end up in the lottery every year?

Hoops Diehard

The Phoenix Suns celebrating after winning the NBA Western Conference Finals at Staples Center
(Claudia Gestro)

Dear Hoops,

The NBA’s biggest problem is it has too many perennial crappy teams in small markets that are never going to be attractive to super stars to set up shop and play a full career. Sacramento, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Cleveland, and Memphis are just some of the franchises that have nothing to offer a player driven to win. They serve as nothing more than a glorified place to develop talent that will leave for greater success elsewhere because the franchise wins about as often as the Globetrotters’ opponent, the Washington Nationals.

There are about 450 men playing in the NBA, about 225 more than there should be. Instead of adding to the already 30 teams the league has, I would consider reducing it to 20 teams, all in large markets, and with the understanding that if a team misses out on the playoffs three years running, they are replaced by the Harlem Globetrotters.

Dear Jim,

If a person got their COVID vaccines, do they need to be concerned about the fast-spreading Delta variant? What’s the point of vaccines if the virus is constantly mutating?

Sick of COVID

Dear Sick,

Vaccines are not cures. They are preventative measures that decrease your odds of catching the virus it is supposed to protect you from. Some last longer than others and when it comes to COVID, it is too soon to know how long the one you got will last. Each year, I get a flu vaccine for two simple reasons; I hate getting sick and the flu virus changes every year. If I do not want to live in a bubble, it’s best I get poked in the arm and feel confident I am protected. Even if I catch the flu, odds are my case will be much milder than someone who never got inoculated.

Guess what? COVID is also a virus, and it is unreasonable to think it will not mutate and it is also unreasonable to think the vaccine you received this past year will work on all future forms of the virus. Plan on needing a booster or new vaccine each year if you desire maximum protection. However, if you do not mind risking both the short- and long-term effects that can come with a case of COVID, ignore my advice or find a bubble to live in.

There you have it, the thoughts, concerns, and brain farts of fans with little to do in life but to seek me out for answers to what troubles them. Until next month, stay in the shade, drink lots of liquids, and purchase a fire hose just in case Satan unleashes his wrath in your neck of the woods.