Grounded

Those of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for more than a year may remember a series of posts that I re-blogged by justascottishgirl, a young woman from Scotland who, in late 2015 to mid-2016 took time from her own life to volunteer helping refugees on the Greek Isle of Kos. Her tales were often heartbreaking, but I was so impressed with what she and others were doing – giving of themselves for the cause of humanity – that I shared her story a few times in March 2016. She eventually returned to Scotland, but has now moved to the Greek Isle of Kos. She has started a new blog, titled From Greece With Love, and shares her very astute thoughts on not just the refugee crisis, but the terrible inhumane incidents taking place around the globe. I am sharing, with her permission, the first post on her new blog where she starts with a question: How does one stay grounded with all the terrible things happening around the world? She concludes with: “Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.” Just A Scottish Girl is an excellent writer, thinker, and humanitarian extraordinaire, and this post is well worth the read. Please take a few moments to read her words, for they reflect what most of us are thinking in these troubled times. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for all you do, for your beautiful heart, and for permission to share your thoughts and words.

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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GOP Supporting ‘Rule of Law’ Have Sponsored Ad To Push US Senate To Secure US Elections

If you think that we are not in the midst of a Constitutional crisis, if you believe that somehow it will all work out fine … you need to read this post by Gronda. We are on a dark path headed to … the destruction of fair elections, the demolition of law and order, and the shredding of the U.S. Constitution. Thank you, Gronda, for your hard work and for so much valuable information.

Gronda Morin

“This ad from Republicans for the Rule of Law calls on Congress to act, as the president clearly won’t, on the urgent matter of protecting our elections from foreign interference. It will air Monday on cable news networks. If you agree, do forward it to your member of Congress.”

Image result for images of helsinki trump russia summit

It’s a sad state of affairs when the experts who surround the President Donald J. Trump can’t discuss Russia having successfully launched a full throttle cyber and propaganda attack in 2016 on our US elections system, and that Russia plans a repeat performance during the 2020 US elections cycle; and to review plans about what’s being done by the US government regarding this issue, without fear of ‘poking the bear’s’ wrath. With this background, it’s hard to justify the US House’s avoidance of it doing it’s…

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Saturday Surprise — Happy Father’s Day

It’s Saturday, folks!!!  The WEEKEND is finally here!  For me, it’s a quiet weekend.  Chris is in Chicago for a band competition, so it’s just me and Miss Goose.  Yesterday … we did nothing useful.  We both went for a walk, she took out the trash, I tidied the kitchen, and we snacked on whatever is residing in the fridge that isn’t covered in green fuzz.  Who knows what today will bring?  I definitely have to at least do a load of two of laundry, but beyond that … probably not much!  Sunday is Father’s Day, so before I forget, I want to wish all you dads out there a very Happy Father’s Day!!!

And thus ends another Saturday Surprise!  Have a great weekend, my friends!weekend

Snarky Snippets — Two Of ‘Em!

Just a couple of snarky snippets to share with you today, for my mind has not yet stopped bouncing about from pillar to post.


Let ‘em all go free …

Remember Flint Michigan and the water crisis?  I first wrote about it in January 2016 when children in Flint were found to have high levels of lead in their blood, which was eventually traced to the water, and in late December 2015, residents were warned not to drink the water, cook with it, or consume it in any way.  The city, in an effort to save money in 2014, had switched from the Detroit water system to using water from the Flint River, without the proper testing, and the result was toxic levels of lead in the water. At least 12 people died from an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease as a result of the contaminated water.  It is now more than three years later, and the water is still not safe to drink, still does not meet federal standards.

Fifteen state and local officials, including emergency managers who ran the city and a member of the governor’s cabinet, had been accused by state prosecutors of crimes as serious as involuntary manslaughter. Seven had already taken plea deals. Eight more, including most of the highest-ranking officials, were awaiting trial.  And then, in a jaw-dropping move yesterday, prosecutors dropped all charges against officials accused of ruining the community’s drinking water and ignoring signs of a crisis.

Why??? The answer is simple:  politics and … well, politics.  Michigan’s Republican attorney general in 2016, Bill Schuette, appointed a team that began investigating and announcing criminal charges, however they apparently didn’t do much of an investigation.  After three years, the cases were moving at a crawl.  Then, in 2018, a new attorney general took office, Dana Nessel, a Democrat.  New prosecutors assigned by Ms. Nessel expressed concern about evidence collection and decided to drop the charges and open a new investigation. Flint-protestThree years … who knows how much money wasted … and not a single prosecution, not a single person has spent a single day in jail.  Even the seven people who had made a plea deal had not yet been sentenced.  Understandably and justifiably, the people of Flint are disgusted and out of patience.  Although a new investigation has been promised … every promise that has been made to the people of Flint thus far has been broken, and they still do not have potable water, so why should they believe this promise?


You will NOT be missed, Sarah …

Sarah-Sanders-2It was announced yesterday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders till be leaving at the end of June.  Mind you, it’s been some 94 days since she last held so much as a press briefing, so nobody knows quite what she has been doing for the past three months anyway.  But, if you want a good laugh, consider this … she said she hopes to be remembered for her transparency and honesty!  🤣🤣🤣  She has been anything but transparent or honest, and has been naught but a paid mouthpiece for whatever gaslighting Trump ordered her to do.  Surely she has told nearly as many lies as Trump himself, and she is one of the ones who claimed that “God wanted Donald Trump to become president.” 

Trump announced Sander’s departure … via tweet, of course …

“After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas. She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!”

Sarah-cartoon-2I don’t know whether she actually plans to run for governor against incumbent Asa Hutchinson, whose term will end in 2022, but nothing would surprise me these days.  One could hope that the good people of Arkansas have better sense.

Fox ‘News’, meanwhile had this to say …

“Sanders did her job, just not the role the liberal press demanded. She served as President Donald Trump’s press secretary, not the ally journalists wanted to help them oust Trump. Instead of celebrating a woman rising to such an important role, both news and entertainment media mocked her looks, her job performance and, even, her honesty.”

Did you expect otherwise?  I wonder who Trump will find to replace her?  She’s leaving some pretty big shoes to fill …


That’s all I’ve got for today folks!  Hope you all have a great weekend!

♫ American Pie ♫

As I mentioned in the afternoon post, I have had mind bounce all day and that has carried over into the songs that have streamed endlessly through my head.  Willie Nelson resided there for a time, replaced by The Beatles, then the Nob Hill Trio (whom you’ve never heard of), Barbra Streisand, and somewhere along the way, Don McLean popped in with this song, American Pie, sometimes known as The Day the Music Died.

“The Day The Music Died” is February 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash after a concert.  Don McLean was a 13-year-old paperboy in New Rochelle, New York when Holly died. He learned about the plane crash when he cut into his stack of papers and saw the lead story.

According to McLean …

“For some reason I wanted to write a big song about America and about politics, but I wanted to do it in a different way. As I was fiddling around, I started singing this thing about the Buddy Holly crash, the thing that came out (singing), ‘Long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.’

I thought, Whoa, what’s that? And then the day the music died, it just came out. And I said, Oh, that is such a great idea. And so that’s all I had. And then I thought, I can’t have another slow song on this record. I’ve got to speed this up. I came up with this chorus, crazy chorus. And then one time about a month later I just woke up and wrote the other five verses. Because I realized what it was, I knew what I had. And basically, all I had to do was speed up the slow verse with the chorus and then slow down the last verse so it was like the first verse, and then tell the story, which was a dream. It is from all these fantasies, all these memories that I made personal. Buddy Holly’s death to me was a personal tragedy. As a child, a 15-year-old, I had no idea that nobody else felt that way much. I mean, I went to school and mentioned it and they said, ‘So what?’ So I carried this yearning and longing, if you will, this weird sadness that would overtake me when I would look at this album, The Buddy Holly Story, because that was my last Buddy record before he passed away.”

American Pie
Don McLean

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
So

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues

I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Now, for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
But, that’s not how it used to be

When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me

Oh and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned

And while Lennon read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died
We were singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast

It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance

‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?
We started singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again

So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

Oh and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away

I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

And in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singing

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

They were singing
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die

Songwriters: Don McLean
American Pie lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Under The BigTop …

The biggest circus on earth came to town on 20 January 2017, and its cast of characters just keeps expanding.  The latest to put on the clown suit and perform is none other than Steve King, U.S. Representative from Iowa.  Mr. King first came under Filosofa’s watchful eye in March 2017, more than two years ago, when he was awarded the coveted Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award.    Ever since, he has remained on the radar for one thing or another, the most frequent and troublesome being his blatant and very public racism.  It finally became such an embarrassment to his fellow members of Congress that this past January, Mr. King was stripped of all his committee assignments in Congress.steve-kingThis week, Mr. King hooked up with two other members of this circus, Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, aka Diamond and Silk. Diamond and Silk are two African-American women who are ardent and very vocal Trump supporters.  Though they prefer not to be called African-Americans, as Ms. Hardaway explains …

“You ain’t gotta call me African American ’cause I ain’t never been to Africa. You can call me black.”

Diamond-Silk-2So, the thing that brought Mr. King and the dynamic duo together this week was King’s promotion of a new bill he has proposed in the House of Representatives.  The bill, dubbed ‘The Diamond and Silk Act’, aims to punish so-called sanctuary cities by re-directing federal appropriations to homeless people and veterans.  I’m not quite sure why Mr. King even bothered proposing this bill, since it stands almost zero chance of passing in the democrat-controlled House, but perhaps he thought he would win some brownie points with the head clown, Donald Trump, who has been threatening to pull funding from sanctuary cities for as long as I can remember.Diamond-Silk-1So, where do Diamond and Silk fit in?  Apparently, Mr. King who is still fuming over being kicked off of his committees, thought it might help offset his carefully crafted image as a white supremacist if he had a couple of African-American’s by his side, showing support for his heinous legislation.  It was truly more like a circus act than a news conference.  As often as not, when a reporter asked Mr. King a question, Diamond and Silk literally stepped in front of him and answered for him, as he happily handed the microphone over to them.  One example …

A reporter asked the question, “You’ve been stripped of your committee assignments. What makes you think Republican colleagues will even entertain this?”  Diamond turned to King and asked, “Can I answer this?”  King replied with delight, “Sure”.  Diamond then went on a rant about members of Congress living in mansions, the attempt by environmentalists to ban plastic straws, and concluded with …

“So this ain’t about no Steve King. This is about our homeless, our veterans and Americans.”

Okay, but it didn’t even begin to answer the question, did it?  Another reporter asked Diamond and Silk what they thought of King retweeting white supremacists, and the two women went into what was reminiscent of a rehearsed script …

Diamond: What is the definition of white supremacist?

Silk: You don’t know, do you?

Diamond: Why would you talk that?

Silk: I’m tired of you all playing the race card.

Diamond: Stop calling everybody a racist.

Here is the video, which is truly a circus sideshow, complete with the sound of a horse or horses snorting and snuffling in the background, and a man walking down the street with a box covering his head at approximately the 8:00 mark on the left side of the screen.  The only thing missing was the peanut vendor. I recommend you turn on the Closed Captioning, for the street noises tend to drown out Mr. King’s voice, though it would take a small army to drown out Diamond and Silk’s.

It’s comical that Diamond and Silk go on a tirade, saying “We got Americans living on the streets, we got Americans living in tents okay, we have homeless people …”  Diamond and Silk have a reported net worth of approximately $3 million, and yet there is no record of them donating a single penny to any charity to help the homeless, or anybody else for that matter.

Diamond and Silk are a joke.  They have been in hot water more than a few times for such things as calling Hillary Clinton a ‘slave master’, saying she was responsible for Russia acquiring nuclear weapons (which happened 70 years ago when Hillary was two years old) and falsely stating under oath that they hadn’t been paid by the Trump campaign when, in fact, they had.Diamond-SilkAs for Mr. King, he seemed to be more than happy to turn the Q&A over to ‘the girls’ while he rather shrunk behind them.  He knows his bill is not going to see the light of day, and the only reason I can figure for this little street scene at midday is to prove that he can be seen with black people and not don his KKK hood.

circus-2Come on, people!!!  Mr. King is supposed to be a government official, a lawmaker, and he resorts to publicity stunts like this?  We don’t have a damned government any more, we just have one big circus in multiple acts.  We have a bunch of snake oil salesmen like Steve King, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Warren Davidson, William Barr, Betsy DeVos, and so many more!  This … THIS abominable clown convention is NOT what We The People are paying hard-earned tax dollars for!  Get these clowns out of office and let us hire some people who take the job seriously!

Rant over.

Tidbits From A Bouncing Mind

Once again in the throes of mind bounce, and having many disruptions and distractions, I think it’s better I stick with a few bits ‘n pieces today, rather than try for a longer post.  First off, I would like to share with you the latest Borowitz Report … it explains some things we’ve all been curious about …


borowitz-andyMINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”

While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,” Logsdon said.

While reaffirming the gloomy assessments of the study, Logsdon held out hope that the threat of fact-resistant humans could be mitigated in the future. “Our research is very preliminary, but it’s possible that they will become more receptive to facts once they are in an environment without food, water, or oxygen,” he said.


Bye-Bye Kellyanne!  We won’t miss you!Kellyanne-ConwayBreaking news in The Washington Post this morning:  Office of Special Counsel recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act  

The Office of Special Counsel has recommended the removal of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work.

The report submitted to President Trump found that Conway violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”

The counsel said Conway was a repeat offender and recommended that she be removed from federal office.

The Office of Special Counsel is run by Henry Kerner, whom Trump nominated to the post.

Best guess is that Trump will choose to ignore the recommendation just as he does all others, but it was a nice try, anyway.  And by the way … if the Hatch Act “bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work”, then isn’t Trump in violation of the Act for holding all his rallies, and denigrating all his political opponents?  Think on that one for just a minute.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

While we have always believed that no person is above the law of the land, Trump claims otherwise.  He filed a brief in The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that takes the position that Congress cannot investigate the president, except possibly in impeachment proceedings.  According to Kellyanne’s husband, George Conway …

“It’s a spectacularly anti-constitutional brief, and anyone who harbors such attitudes toward our Constitution’s architecture is not fit for office. Trump’s brief is nothing if not an invitation to commencing impeachment proceedings that, for reasons set out in the Mueller report, should have already commenced.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform subpoenaed Trump’s accountants in mid-April for relevant documents, and Trump tried to block the move, only to be sternly rebuked in mid-May by a federal judge in Washington.

The appeals brief filed Monday by Trump attacks that decision. But to describe Trump’s brief is to refute it. He argues that Congress is “trying to prove that the President broke the law” and that that’s something Congress can’t do, because it’s ‘an exercise of law enforcement authority that the Constitution reserves to the executive branch.’”

It’s rather akin to saying that a police officer who shoots an unarmed person without just cause cannot be fired or prosecuted.  So … a return to the days of the Old West???  There is, it seems to me, more than ample cause to start impeachment proceedings immediately, if for no other reason than to ensure that Bozo the Clown is not on the ballot in 2020!


And that’s a wrap for this afternoon, folks!  Have a good one!

$295 For A Hamburger???

Yesterday’s column in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof took my breath.  Literally.  I was all set to write this morning’s post about the political circus that has taken over our lives, but … Kristof’s column simply must be shared.  I warn you, it is not an easy read, for it is heart-breaking and enraging all at once, but it is well worth reading.  As he ends his column:  Something’s wrong with this picture.


The World’s Malnourished Kids Don’t Need a $295 Burger

A quarter of the world’s children are stunted from inadequate diets.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

June 12, 2019

Kristoff-1

A child at the Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Children, in Antigua, Guatemala.CreditCredit Daniele Volpe for The New York Times

ANTIGUA, Guatemala — Raúl is a happy preschooler, tumbling around among 4- and 5-year-olds, but something is off.

It’s not his behavior, for it’s the same as that of the other little kids. Rather, it’s his face. The baby fat is gone, and although he’s only 3 feet 5 inches tall, the height of an average 5-year-old, an older face seems grafted on.

Sure enough, Raúl turns out to be 9. Malnutrition has left his body and mind badly stunted. He’s one of almost one-quarter of all children worldwide who are stunted from malnutrition.

Here in Guatemala, almost half of children are stunted. In some Mayan villages, it’s 70 percent.

In another world, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the restaurant Serendipity 3  offers a $295 hamburger. Alternatively, it sells a $214 grilled cheese sandwich and a $1,000 sundae.

“Stunting is probably the best marker of child health inequality,” Dr. Kirsten Austad of the Maya Health Alliance told me. “Stunting is a key driver of intergenerational poverty.”

The big problem with stunting from malnutrition isn’t that people are short but that they often have impaired brain development.

“He’s like a 5-year-old,” Rina Lazo Rodríguez, director of the Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Children, said of Raúl. He is now living at the hospital and has never attended school, and staff members aren’t sure to what extent he can recover physically or mentally.

Studies find that malnourished children do less well in school, and the mental impairment is visible in brain scans.

The implication is that billions of I.Q. points are lost to malnutrition, and that the world’s greatest unexploited resource is not oil or gold but the minds of hungry children.

For the diner who has everything, restaurants offer gold in food. A Dubai restaurant, for example, has sold a cupcake enveloped in gold leaf. The gold is tasteless (and nontoxic), so its only purpose is extravagant novelty and a glittering price — in this case, more than $1,000 per cupcake.

I’m on my annual win-a-trip journey, in which I take a university student with me on a reporting trip. This year the winner is Mia Armstrong of Arizona State University, and we’ve been dropping in on villagers in rural Guatemala — and seeing stunning levels of malnutrition. The problem isn’t just shortage of calories but of vital micronutrients, like zinc, iron, iodine and vitamin A.

Alas, the most boring word in the English language may be “micronutrients.” And boring causes don’t get addressed or funding.

One girl we met, Ingrid, was 14 years old and 4 feet 7 inches tall. I asked her if she was in school.

“I dropped out in the first grade,” she said.

I asked her to write her name in my notebook.

“I can’t write my name,” she responded.

Sotheby’s last year auctioned off a bottle of wine, a Romanée Conti 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The label was stained and there were signs of seepage, but the single bottle sold for $558,000.

Shawn Baker of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation refers to “the 45 percent-1 percent disconnect.” As he explained: “Malnutrition is the underlying cause of 45 percent of deaths in children under 5, yet less than 1 percent of global foreign assistance goes to addressing undernutrition.

“The bulk of the damage is done in the first 1,000 days — from conception through two years of life — and that damage is largely irreversible.” Aside from cognitive impairment, stunted children grow up to have more health problems in adulthood, and stunted women deliver smaller babies, sometimes perpetuating the poverty cycle.

The Ranch in Malibu, Calif., offers a luxury nine-night weight-loss program for $11,400 per person.

Nutrition programs are extremely cheap. often among the most cost-effective ways to fight global poverty.

School feeding programs promote education as well as nutrition, and cost just 25 cents per child per meal. Deworming costs about 50 cents per child per year to improve both nutrition and health, yet pets in the U.S. are more likely to be dewormed than children in many other places.

As Mia noted in a separate article, one nutrition initiative could save up to 800,000 lives a year and requires no electricity, refrigeration or high technology. It’s simply support for breast-feeding.

Fortifying foods with iron, zinc, iodine and vitamin A is transformative. Ensuring that children are screened for malnutrition and promptly helped with supplements that are similar to peanut butter is fairly straightforward. Yet malnourished children aren’t a priority, so kids are stunted in ways that will hold back our world for many decades to come.

If some distant planet sends foreign correspondents to Earth, they will be baffled that we allow almost one child in four to be stunted, even as we indulge in gold leaf cupcakes, $1,000 sundaes and half-million-dollar bottles of wine.

“In 2018, an estimated 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese. Pet obesity remains a serious health threat.” — Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

Something’s wrong with this picture.

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The Times since 2001. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his coverage of China and of the genocide in Darfur. You can sign up for his free, twice-weekly email newsletter and follow him on Instagram@NickKristof Facebook

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Out of the pool

Once again, our friend Keith has been thinking and come up with some ideas that I think have a great deal of merit. Granted, they will likely never see the light of day, but … I surely wish they would. Heck, I’m all for starting a campaign to elect Keith Wilson as the next president of the United States! All in favour? Thank you, Keith, for some excellent thoughts.

musingsofanoldfart

I think it is time to fire any politician in Washington who is forgetting why they are there. We could start with the White House incumbent and then take out hundreds of members of Congress in both Houses. I understand fully Congress must investigate and provide oversight over the Executive Branch. That is part of their job and the current incumbent has given them cause to dig further.

Yet, I have this simple idea that leaders of both houses sit down with legislative liaisons from the White House and figure out some things they can pass and sign into law. I think a civilian board could list about a dozen major issues to focus on and say work these out. It should not take a civilian board, but these folks are too beholden to funders to come up with a workable list.

A key reason for not listing the problems…

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OBSTRUCTION!!!

Donald Trump is playing games with our lives.  Today, in a strictly retaliatory move against Congress and We the People, he played that tired old “executive privilege” card.  Congress had made known earlier this week its intent to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failure to answer the subpoenas they were issued by the House Oversight Committee to release certain documents.  Trump threatened that if they did so, he would invoke ‘executive privilege’ on the documents the committee had requested regarding how a citizenship question came to be added to the 2020 census form.  Just a few hours ago, Trump acted on his threat and invoked that ‘executive privilege’ that he has so often used and abused.

Congress has not only a constitutional right, but a constitutional mandate to investigate, to find the truth. That truth is being hidden, kept from Congress, purloined from the public.  This move reeks of dictatorship, of an authoritarian government, one where the ‘man’ at the top considers himself to be a supreme leader, rather than a democratically elected public servant.

Trump’s refusal to allow documents to be released, his threats and bullying key witnesses to keep them from testifying before Congress is nothing less than obstruction of justice.  The Mueller report laid out nearly a dozen proven instances in which Trump had obstructed, or attempted to obstruct, the ongoing investigation. Nothing has changed … he is still obstructing justice and has become even more blatant about it, for nobody and nothing to date has stopped him.  His minions, his boot-lickers both in the cabinet, the White House staff, and in Congress have lied and covered for him, have pointed the finger of blame in every direction except the right one, and thus we now have a dictator who believes that he has the right to hide the truth, to trample the Constitution for his own purposes.

Trump is a ‘fake’ president and is leading this nation down a dark path.  Yes, folks, he most definitely IS guilty of obstruction of justice, as recently as five hours ago!  We the People are being increasingly kept in the dark, being given only the tidbits that Trump wants us to have.  Do you know when was the last time Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a White House Press Briefing?  March 11th … 92 days ago!  More than three months.  During that time, she has been a regular on Fox News, but has disappeared from the legitimate press.  Not, mind you, that she ever told the truth anyway, but still …

As for William Barr and Wilbur Ross … I would like to see them both cited for contempt of Congress and given 24 hours to comply, else be arrested and put in jail just as you or I would be in similar circumstances.  As for Trump … he claims the Mueller report exonerated him.  It did not.  He claims “no collusion, no obstruction”.  He lies … he is guilty of both, but Mueller’s hands were tied, so he tossed the ball to Congress.  Now Trump and Co are trying to tie Congress’ hands.  If that isn’t obstruction, I don’t know what is.

Chris Britt / Illinois Times

R.J. Matson / Roll CallNick Anderson cartoonAdam Zyglis / Buffalo NewsJeff Danziger cartoon

♫ Runaway ♫

I had every intention of playing Donna Summer’s Last Dance tonight.  I have no idea where that trail derailed, but derail it did, and somehow I have ended up about about 17 years before Summer would record her hit.  The artist … Del Shannon.  Why?  Because it’s there?

This song was released in 1961 … fifty-eight years ago … I was ten years old.  Wow.

A lot of Shannon’s songs were about broken relationships. He once said he wrote the words to this about himself because he was forever running away from relationships.  The song came about, according to Shannon, thusly …

“We were on stage and Max [Crook] hit an A minor and a G and I said, ‘Max, play that again, it’s a great change.'” The drummer, Dick Parker, followed them and after 15 minutes, the manager of the club shouted, ‘Knock it off, play something else.’ That night I went back to the club and I told Max to play an instrumental on his musitron for the middle part, and when he played that solo, we had ‘Runaway.'”

This was Shannon’s biggest hit. His career trailed off a few years later, and sadly he killed himself in 1990.  Shannon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posthumously in 1999.

Runaway
Del Shannon

As I walk along, I wonder
A what went wrong whit our love
A love that was so strong

And as I still walk on
I think of the thing’s we’ve done
Together, while our hearts were young

I’m a walkin’ in the rain
Tears are fallin’ and I feel a pain
A wishin’ you were here by me
To end this misery

And I wonder, I wa wa wa wa wonder
Why a why why why why why
She ran away
And I wonder where she will stay
My little runaway
My run run run run runaway

I’m a walkin’ in the rain
Tears are fallin’ and I feel a pain
A wishin’ you were here by me
To end this misery

And I wonder, I wa wa wa wa wonder
Why a why why why why why
She ran awayway
And I wonder where she will stay
My little runaway
A run run run run
Runaway

Songwriters: Del Shannon, Max Crook
Publisher: BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind