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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Where Are The Children?

It was one week ago today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) missed the court-mandated deadline to reunite all immigrant children under the age of five with their parents.  It was, apart from Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the most important news story of the day one short week ago.  The government had only managed to reunited some 50% of the children.  In 20% of the cases, HHS lost track of the parents after they were either deported or released into the U.S.  In other cases, the excuse was they were doing DNA testing to verify parentage, but the bottom line was that far too many toddlers were still left sleeping behind wire and crying for their mommies every night.

Then Trump went abroad where he ruined relations with our NATO allies, trashed our kinship with the UK, and sold the U.S. to Putin in Helsinki.  And the plight of the children, probably to the relief of HHS Secretary Alex Azar, fell off the front pages and for a brief time, out of our minds.  I awakened this morning with these children very much on my mind and determined I would do some digging to find out the latest status.

According to USA Today …

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said Monday he’s become “exasperated” by the Trump administration’s slow work to reunify more than 2,600 children separated from their parents, and he ordered the government to halt all deportations of parents for at least a week.

Sabraw scolded the Department of Health and Human Services for taking so long to reunite children in its care with their parents held in separate government facilities. The judge responded to a court filing by Chris Meekins, a senior HHS official who wrote that the judge’s order requiring accelerated reunifications was leading to “increased risks to child welfare.”

Sabraw tore into Meekins during a court hearing in San Diego on Monday, saying his claims were “deeply troubling” and “completely unhelpful” to what had been a mutual spirit of good faith between the two sides. The judge said Meekins’ filing appeared to represent an effort to deflect blame for any damage caused to children as a result of the government’s family separation policy.

The latest tally seems to be that 57 of the under-five group have been reunited with their parents, just over half.  HHS claims that the others will not be returned to their parents, as the parents have been found ‘unfit’, most due to criminal records.  There was a time I would have believed the government, but frankly, I no longer believe a word of it.  So, there are still 46 children under five-years-old, living in detention centers under conditions that we do not know, for the media has been barred from touring those facilities.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a joint statement that the 57 reunifications show the government has done everything it can to comply with Sabraw’s order.

According to the administration, some of the cases that were not completed include:

  • 11 parents who were found to have a “serious criminal history,” including charges or convictions of child cruelty, kidnapping and murder, making them a danger to their children.
  • 12 parents who had already been deported. Sabraw agreed to give the government more time to identify those parents and create a system to reunify them with their children.
  • 11 adults who are in federal and state custody on non-immigration, criminal charges.
  • Seven adults who were determined not to be a parent. The government has been conducting DNA tests of all alleged families to ensure that children are not released to human smugglers.
  • One parent whose identity remains unknown. The Department of Justice said the child, who has been in custody for more than a year, may be a U.S. citizen.

Sarah Fabian, an attorney for the Department of Justice argued against Judge Sabraw’s order to halt deportations, saying it would affect the government’s ability to maintain its pace of reunifications. She said there is a limited number of detention facilities where families can be held together and said they may fill up as deportations are on hold.  Judge Sabraw appears to have run out of patience with the U.S. government’s bungling efforts and simply said, “That is not an option. The government will have to make space.”  I like Judge Sabraw!

The next deadline, that to reunite the 2,551 children age five and older, is July 26th.  Already HHS admits to having lost track of at least 71 of those parents, so the odds are that this effort will be as much a disaster as the prior one.

This was all the information I could find this morning, and it was about what I expected.  We need to keep our eye on this ball.  Yes, Donald Trump’s actions abroad are without precedent and are extremely important to the future of our nation, but these children cannot fall by the wayside either.  What has happened to these children, these families, is nothing short of a crime against humanity and must be treated as such.  Where we once welcomed immigrants with open arms, we now take their children from them and lock them away.  This, my friends, is unconscionable.

MacArthur Park

This one should be familiar to those of my generation both in the U.S. and across the pond, for in 1968 it hit #2 on the U.S. charts and #4 in the UK.  It reached the #1 spot in both Australia and Canada, however. Others have recorded this song, including country singer Waylon Jennings and Donna Summer, but I’ve always been partial to the Richard Harris version.  Not the most cheerful song, perhaps, but it suits my mood tonight … ♫ Someone left the cake out in the rain ♫  …  just be thankful you don’t have to listen to me singing it!

MacArthur Park
Richard Harris
Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love’s hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!
I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
You’ll still be the one
I will take my life into my hands and I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
Oh, after all the loves of my life
I’ll be thinking of you
And wondering why
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!
Oh no
No
Oh no!
Songwriters: Adrian Drover / Jimmy Webb
MacArthur Park lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Sold Downriver

Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Bob Corker, Tim Scott, John Kasich, Newt Gingrich … what do these men have in common?  Two things:  they are all republicans and they have all spoken out against Trump’s behaviour in yesterday’s meeting/summit with Vladimir Putin.  Surprised?  So was I, but it is a testament to just how abominable Trump’s actions/words actually were.  Perhaps more surprising yet is that even his state-news network, Fox News, disagreed with his handling of this meeting:

“There is a growing consensus across the land tonight … that the president threw the United States under the bus.” — Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts.

“No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.” – Abby Huntsman, Fox News Channel host and daughter of Trump’s ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman

Some republicans in and out of Congress who routinely lick his boots were appalled:

“There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia.” – Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan

“One of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” – Senator John McCain

“This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.” – Senator Ben Sasse

“I have said a number of times, I’ll say it again: The Russians are not our friends. And I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community.” – Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.” – Senator Jeff Flake

“It’s depressing, really unlike anything we’ve seen in my lifetime. A president of the United States saying, ‘You know, I kind of believe a former KGB agent over our intelligence community.’ This is a sad day.” – Ohio Governor, John Kasich

“When he had the opportunity to defend our intelligence agencies who work for him, I was very disappointed and saddened with the equivalency that he gave between them and what Putin was saying. The president’s comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover and I was disappointed in that.” – Senator Bob Corker

“It’s certainly not helpful for the President to express doubt about the conclusions of his own team. He has assembled a first-rate intelligence team handled by Dan Coats and I would hope that he would take their analysis over the predictable denials of President Putin.” – Senator Susan Collins

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.” – Representative Liz Cheney

“The President’s summit in Helsinki today should have been an attempt at confronting Russian aggression, hacking, and election interference. Russia is not a friend or ally. As Americans, we stand up for our interests and values abroad; but I fear today was a step backwards.” – Senator Tim Scott

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—-immediately.” – Former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich

“I’ve seen the Russian intelligence manipulate many people many people in my career, and I never would have thought the US President would be one of them.” – Representative and former CIA officer, Will Hurd

“The American people deserve the truth, & to disregard the legitimacy of our intelligence officials is a disservice to the men & women who serve this country. It’s time to wake up & face reality. #Putin is not our friend; he’s an enemy to our freedom.” – Representative Adam Kinzinger

Needless to say, democrats were outraged, but that was to be expected.  I am only slightly encouraged by the above comments, all by republican sycophants, for the proof will be in the pudding.  Are they disturbed enough to act, or are they only paying lip service to an enraged public?  And speaking of the public, what about Trump’s ignoble followers?  Are they angered at all, or are they still cheering?  Do they even understand the ramifications of his actions, his words?   Do they understand that We the People have been sold downriver?

TREASON!

I just love starting Monday in a haze of white-hot fury.  The Washington Post headline reads:

Putin Again Denies Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election; Trump Calls Probe a ‘Disaster for Our Country’

It comes as no surprise that Putin denies interference … nobody with half a brain thought he would admit it, but no matter, for there is more than ample hard fact-based evidence that he did.  But for Trump to call the investigation a “disaster for our country”???  NO … NO NO NO NO NO!  The investigation is essential and the only thing that gives us hope we might get rid of the real disaster: Trump himself!  I am in a white hot fury over his asininity!

Putin:  … Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal American affairs.

Trump:  There was no collusion. I didn’t know the president. There was nobody to collude with. There was no collusion with the campaign.bullshitNow what, exactly, do these two donkeys expect us to do at this point?  Do they expect that we will all say, “Oh, well, that solves it then.  Let’s stop the Mueller investigation and all other investigations and let Trump get on with his plan for mass destruction of the U.S.”

Somebody needs to take that ugly red tie and wrap it around his neck a few more times and pull tightly!

Trump:  Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed, as of about four hours ago.

Why, Donnie?  What changed?  Did you offer him the keys to the Capitol and the White House?  Did you promise to change the name of the country to the United States of Russia?  And what did he offer you?  A lifetime sitting in the Oval Office with no need for another election ever? 

Frankly, if this isn’t a wake-up call to both Congress and Trump’s supporters, then we know that they have all been lobotomized.

Trump:  I think the probe has been a disaster for our country. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.

Well-respected former Director of the CIA, John Brennan, had this to say:

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

I repeat that question:  Where are you???  Some republicans in Congress absolutely must wake up and step up to the plate, for now there can be no doubt … not a shred of doubt … that Donald Trump is Putin’s asset.  There can be no doubt that deals have been made for our country to blindly support Russia’s agenda, whatever that agenda may be.  I can only wonder, with Trump’s past Russian connections, how many years this plan has been in the making?

Trump:  Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct! This is why there is such hatred and dissension in our country — but at some point, it will heal!

The “hatred and dissension” in our country did not begin with Trump, but he has escalated it by a thousand percent, and continues to do so every time his fingers hit the keys on his twittering machine.  Donald Trump cannot heal the rift … the gulf … in this country, for he is the cause of it.  And no, folks, the media is NOT the enemy of the people … Donald Trump is the enemy of the people!  His state-media, Fox News is the enemy of the people, for they spread his lies and further widen the great divide.

I make no apologies, as I normally would, for this rant, for it is time We The People – all the people, including those who have been wearing blinders and earplugs for nearly 18 months now – wake up and see what is right under our very noses!  Donald Trump has no love for this country nor for its people.  He loves two things:  money and power.  And Vladimir Putin is promising him both.  Russia is not our friend and the free press is not our enemy.  There can no longer be any illusion that Trump can be reined in and eventually become the president of the people.  His goals are not ours.  The only solution, if we wish to continue as a relatively free nation, is to get Donald Trump out of the White House as quickly as possible.

Hot ‘n Jolly Monday!

Hey folks!!!  Yep, it’s Monday again and this time I’m prepared!  I have treats for all, even naked cinnamon rolls for rawgod, donuts for Steve, scones (not burnt this time) for David, and Ellen … your coffee is just the way you like it!

So, did you all have a great weekend?  It was 95° here on Saturday with about 70% humidity, and the air quality so poor that there was a haze everywhere you looked.  Needless to say, that is not air out there … I don’t know what it is, but it is not air and whatever it is, I cannot breathe it.  I am grounded until further notice and nobody better tell me there’s no such thing as climate change!

Well, let’s forget that and find some fun to start our week off, shall we?


The world’s largest …

There used to be a saying here in the U.S.: “They grow everything big in Texas”  I’m not sure where the saying originated, but the only thing I’ve seen that is bigger in Texas (other than the size of the state itself) are the egos.  No, not you Steve. But to the point, I think Texas may be taking a back seat to Australia, if avocados are any indication.

It is called the Avozilla …avocadoThey look like an avocado and taste like an avocado. The only difference from the avocados you know is that these ones are about the size of your head.  Well, most people’s head, anyway — some Texans have bigger heads.  No, not you Steve.  They weigh an average of just over 2.5 pounds, or 1.2 kg.  (Why can’t the U.S. convert to the metric system like everybody else???)  They are expected to sell for about $12 each!

The fruit (yes, folks, avocados are a fruit, not a veggie) actually originated in South Africa and emigrated to the UK in 2013, but the Groves family of Queensland just brought them to Oz this year.  Now I learned something new here … I didn’t realize a country could ‘copyright’ a variety of tree, but any farmer that plants this giant avocado tree must seek permission and pay royalties to the South African company that owns the rights.

The problem I foresee here is that avocados go bad very quickly once exposed to air.  By quickly, I mean a matter of minutes, although one can keep them fresh and green for a few hours with a bit of lemon juice and the avocado pit.  I don’t see a huge individual market for them, though they might be popular in Mexican restaurants where large quantities of guacamole are served up.

guacamole


Whodunnit?

Rob Morin and Paula Habib from Montreal, Canada, noticed in June that produce was going missing from their tomato and strawberry plants.

“We had a full set of tomatoes and then all of a sudden the tomatoes started going down. We didn’t take any ourselves; we thought it was the squirrels.”

But still, they found it odd that the squirrels weren’t leaving a mess, as squirrels typically do.  OCD squirrels, perhaps?

“We first thought it was the squirrels, but normally the squirrels leave a mess and there was not a mess on the ground where the plants were.”

I don’t know what took them so long, but finally the couple got the brilliant idea to check the footage from their outdoor security camera, and guess what?  It wasn’t a squirrel at all …mailmanYes, friends, it was the trusty mail carrier that was helping himself to the fruit each day.  Seems a fair trade … a box full of junk mail for a handful of tomatoes and strawberries!

“It’s rude,” said Ms. Habib. “He never told us. He never came to the door and said, ‘I took one of your tomatoes and it was really good’ or made joke about it. He just did it and he couldn’t care less.”

Canada Post is aware of the case and has spoken with the family, but so far isn’t commenting on the matter.  Habib said she does not want the postman to lose his job, but he could also offer some restitution – if he replaces the plants or offers the family a strawberry pie or some tomato sauce, all will be forgiven.


Dream job?

Mattress Firm, a mattress company based in Houston, Texas, has a job opening that I think would be just perfect for my daughter, who can fall asleep anywhere in under 15 seconds!  The ad on the company’s website reads:

Pursuing a degree in catching Z’s? Would you rather carry a pillowcase instead of a briefcase? This Fall, you can snag the internship of your dreams as Mattress Firm’s first “Snoozetern.”

snoozetern.jpg

We are searching for someone who can put their rest to the test. If you think you’re a slumber star, apply to sleep on the job as our in-house bed tester, testing the best of the best mattresses. The back of your eyelids won’t be your only view. You’ll test the optimal head and foot positions on our selection of adjustable bases for Netflix binging, Instagram stalking *ahem* posting, reading, typing, eating…really anything that would be better in bed.

Of course, you’ll want your friends to know that you’re ‘sleeping your best life’ so regular appearances on Mattress Firm’s social channels will make the job of your dreams official. Feed your inquisitive nature by interviewing our sleep experts, finding out what the social sphere wants to know and determining the perfect amount of pillows needed for the ‘I’m-sleeping-but-still-taking-a-picture-of-myself’ selfie.

Help us help the sleep deprived by applying to join our team. Comfort and curiosity are calling, will you answer?

Among the required qualifications are:

– 18 years of age or older

– Proficient in napping, regardless of time of day

– Interested in exposure to different surfaces, textures and sleep positions

– Passionate about sleep and comfort

– Available to start snoozing in the Houston-area beginning August 15

The only one that could be a problem for Chris is that last one, but the rest … she’s got this!


The $67,000 squirrel …

In Almaty, a city in Kazakhstan, resides a sculpture of a giant squirrel … sculpted from straw!  The squirrel, which stands 40 feet tall, is made from straw and wood attached to a steel frame, is part of an art project for a festival commissioned by city authorities.  But Rocky is causing some problems for the city.  First, some say he is a fire hazard … I suppose that is true, especially in a lightning storm.  But the main argument is the cost … it cost the city some $67,000 (£51,000), about $44,000 of which was paid for from public funds.  The people are, understandably, concerned that the money might have been better spent helping the struggling people of the city with medical or other costs.  I can’t argue against that point.giant-squirrelThe artists, South African sculptor Marius Jansen van Vuuren and British artist Alex Rinsler, have said that the squirrel will change appearance during the nine months it is expected to be on display, but I have a feeling that Rocky may not outlast the first hard rain or windstorm.  Still, he is pretty cute …giant squirrel-3


I just wanna be on da teevee too, dad …

Polish historian/political scientist Jerzy Targalski was giving a taped interview regarding the U.S. Supreme Court when his cat decided to get in on the act.


Well, friends, once again it is time for us to each get busy.  I’ve really enjoyed our visit this morning … this is absolutely my favourite part of most Mondays!  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Oh WAIT … before you go … please share those gorgeous smiles today and every day.  A lot of people are pretty miserable these days, and a smile seems to just work wonders when somebody is feeling down.  Hugs ‘n love from Filosofa & the Significant Seven!

toon-1'I'm MELTING!!!' - 'Oh knock it off, we're ALL hot!'toon-3

Friend or Foe???

Friend: a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Foe: an enemy or opponent.syp-v-spy


Shouldn’t be too hard to tell the difference, should it?  Sure, sometimes we think somebody is a friend, only to learn later that they weren’t at all, but most of us are pretty fair judges of character and we don’t often make serious mistakes in choosing our friends.  Donald Trump is the exception to that rule.  But then, Donald  Trump is the exception to most every rule in the book, so why are we surprised?

On Saturday, Trump was interviewed by CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland.  The full interview will be broadcast on Monday, but a few snippets have been released. Asked who he thinks is the biggest foe the U.S. has right now, he replied …

“Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union but they’re a foe.”

President of the European Union Donald Tusk had a good comeback: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”

I imagine Trump considers Canada and Mexico among the other foes. Lest you fall into the trap of believing a single word this man says, allow me to clarify.  The European Union and the countries that comprise it are our allies – our friends.  The UK is also our friend and ally. North Korea, China and Russia are not.  They are foes.  They are our antagonists.  They do not seek an alliance where both sides stand to gain.  Russia, in particular, has a goal, an endgame in mind whereby Russia dominates a large portion of the globe, and because of the ignorance of Donald Trump, Russia – specifically Vladimir Putin – views the United States as a pawn in their game.

Typically, a president has many advisors, each an expert in his or her field, and the smart president will listen to those advisors, process the information they are given, then make what seems the best decision at the moment.  By ‘best decision’, I mean that which will keep the world safest, and benefit the citizens of the U.S.  That style of leadership went out the window the day Trump took office and because of it, the world becomes a little less safe every day.

In the past week, Trump has been rude & crude – his trademark – to the Queen of England, to Prime Minister Theresa May, and to German Chancellor Angela Merkel – all are leaders of nations that are our friends, our allies.  On the flip side of that, he has praised DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, saying, “He’s very smart, great personality, he’s funny and tough, good negotiator.”

And, of course, he is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow, just three days after indictments were handed down for 12 of Putin’s henchmen who are accused of having acted as agents to sway the 2016 election in favour of Trump.  Many things are concerning about his meeting with Putin, not the least of which is his insistence that the meeting take place without advisors, staff, note-takers or other witnesses.  This is highly unorthodox and should not be allowed.  Presidential conversations are a matter of record – documented.  Period. One might speculate that Trump has an agenda for the meeting that is not in the best interest of the U.S.  Yep … one might just speculate that …

Trump is very angry over the indictments of the 12 Russians on Friday … angry, but not at Putin, not at Russia … no, he is angry with his own people, angry with Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein.  He says he may ask Putin about the data theft conducted by the 12, but will absolutely not ask for their extradition to the U.S.  Ask yourself “WHY?”

Trump claims the data theft was solely the fault of the Democratic National Committee (DNC):

“I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked.”

Oh yes, I forgot … the democrats are also a foe.  And it was all Obama’s fault for letting it happen.  Barack Obama is also a foe.

The world should be concerned about the Trump-Putin meeting without credible witnesses or documenters.  Trump says he has low expectations for the meeting, but that nothing bad will come of it.  Sorry, folks, this man’s ‘word’ has about as much value as the rotten milk in my refrigerator.  He cannot even tell the difference between a friend and a foe, and in truth, the U.S. may not have many friends left after the past week.  Think about it.

Protest ahead of Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki

Protesters in Helsinki, Finland, ahead of Putin-Trump ‘summit’

Shoot The Messenger???

The news on the street … well, okay, on the internet … is that the Freedom Caucus of the House of Representatives has prepared paperwork to propose impeachment proceedings against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Apparently, in light of his indictments against 12 Russians in the Robert Mueller investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election, the House Freedom Caucus has decided to shoot the messenger rather than try to understand what happened two years ago.  Now, in preparation for this post, I did some research into the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) and the Tea Party movement and I turned over some facts that I found very interesting.

The Tea Party movement began almost immediately following Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration (in January 2009) when his administration announced plans to give financial aid to bankrupt homeowners.  It is notable that this was one of the first things Trump reversed via executive order after he took office.  The driving force behind the movement was none other than David H. Koch of Koch brothers fame.  But here’s the really interesting thing … one of the things the party stands firmly in favour of is a reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit.  The tax bill of December 2017 ensured the exact opposite of both of these goals!  Both debt and deficit have been increased and are projected to be ‘bigly’ increased over the coming decade.

Left to right:  Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Mick Mulvaney

The House Freedom Caucus was founded by none other than current Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mick Mulvaney, and is currently chaired by Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, consists of the following members:

Justin Amash Michigan
Joe Barton Texas
Andy Biggs Arizona
Rod Blum Iowa
Dave Brat Virginia
Mo Brooks Alabama
Ken Buck Colorado
Ted Budd North Carolina
Warren Davidson Ohio
Ron DeSantis Florida
Scott DesJarlais Tennessee
Jeff Duncan South Carolina
Matt Gaetz Florida
Tom Garrett Jr. Virginia]
Louie Gohmert Texas
Paul Gosar Arizona
Morgan Griffith Virginia
Andy Harris Maryland
Jody Hice Georgia
Jim Jordan Ohio
Raúl Labrador Idaho
Mark Meadows North Carolina
Alex Mooney West Virginia
Gary Palmer Alabama
Steve Pearce New Mexico
Scott Perry Pennsylvania
Bill Posey Florida
Mark Sanford South Carolina
David Schweikert Arizona
Randy Weber Texas
Ted Yoho Florida

These 31 men are the most radically conservative in the U.S. Congress, and they have been preparing the impeachment documents against Mr. Rosenstein since April, it is said.  Their focus on Rosenstein is explained by the fact that it is he to whom Robert Mueller reports on the status and results of the ongoing investigation into the election of 2016.  Initially, the investigation was to determine the extent to which Russia had interfered in the election and who was involved.  The investigation quickly expanded, however, as various members of the Trump campaign, and even some of his family members were found to have involvement.  The HFC is apparently feeling threatened by the mounting evidence and intends to shut the investigation down, one way or another.

The House Freedom Caucus has only 31 members, and 31 is not a majority in a House comprised of 435 members.  It would require the support of 187 additional members to pass, and that seems somewhat unlikely.  But then … there are an awful lot of boot-lickers these days who seem willing to sell their souls to support and protect the worst president in the history of the U.S.

Rosenstein, for his part, deserves a standing ovation.  He has stood his ground and been the voice of reason, perhaps the only voice of reason in this past week.  Here is a small part of his speech … you can read the full speech here if you are interested.

“We do not try cases on television or in congressional hearings. Most anonymous leaks are not from the government officials who are actually conducting these investigations. We follow the rule of law, which means that we follow procedures, and we reserve judgment. We complete our investigations, and we evaluate all of the relevant evidence before we reach any conclusion. That is how the American people expect their Department of Justice to operate, and that is how our department is going to operate.

The indictment was returned today because prosecutors determined that the evidence was sufficient to present these allegations to a federal grand jury. Our analysis is based solely on the facts, the law, and Department of Justice policies. I briefed President Trump about these allegations earlier this week. The president is fully aware of the department’s actions today.

There will always be adversaries who seek to exacerbate our divisions and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us. So long as we are united in our commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed. A partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace, dignity, and unity of the American people. The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who commit election interference. We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable, and we need to keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.”

In addition to the data theft, hacked emails and computers of key people in the DNC, it has been determined that the Russians were responsible for hacking the website of a state election board and stealing information about 500,000 voters.  A half-million of us private citizens had our personal information stolen as part of a giant scheme to rig the election in favour of Donald Trump, and the republicans are mad at Rod Rosenstein???

I am going to be emailing my representatives tomorrow to inform them in no uncertain terms that I will break their kneecaps not stand silently by and allow this ridiculously blatant attempt to cover up a massive crime against the citizens of this nation!  I stand by Mr. Robert Mueller and Mr. Rod Rosenstein – possibly the only two men in Washington that have a conscience and are trying to do the right thing for the people of the U.S.

‘We Are The World’ …. “🌎 We Always have Been, We Always will Be 🌎 …. “!!

It has been yet one more week that has bombarded our sensibilities with hate, with ugliness, with things that we didn’t think could happen, couldn’t possibly even imagine two years ago. The ‘man’ in the Oval Office was allowed out of the Oval Office to travel abroad, where he left a trail of offal, for lack of a better word. Today, I think we all need a break from it, and our very dear friend Dr. Horty Rex has provided a most wonderful and apt respite that I would like to share with you all this afternoon. Thank you, Horty, for this beautiful song to remind us, to give us hope for the future, and for implied permission to share.

It Is What It Is

~~July 13, 2018~~ 

TURBULENT TIMES

~We Always have Been, We Always will Be~

I find myself so pulled by the negativity and awful events taking place in our world nowadays. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming that I can’t really breathe.

I can’t fathom or wrap my head around the level of inhumanity, greed, vileness, evil, violence, crime, injustice and so much more that inhabits this world.

Music helps me.

Here’s an example.

HortyRex©

RedLineBYael Silver (Tony-winning producer Once On This Island), Robin Carus and Van Dean (Broadway Records, President) today released “We Are The World,” a music video featuring an all-star roster of theater artists and calling for healing and unity in the world today.

“More than ever, people need to know that their voices make a difference and their voices together are incredibly powerful,” said producer Yael Silver.

“We Are The World spoke to…

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Saturday Surprise — Who Knew?

Good morning and welcome to the weekend!!!  Finally, eh?  Been one of those weeks that I just wanted to crawl under a rock more than once.  But here it is, Saturday morning, and the whole weekend lies ahead.  What adventures do you guys have planned for the weekend?  I was initially planning to take you all on a fun journey today, but unfortunately, my Tiny Timely Travel machine is on the fritz and I think I am going to have to take it to the shop.  When I asked it to take me to Italy yesterday, I ended up in Sri Lanka, and when I was trying to go to Hawaii for a bit of r&r, I found myself in Calcutta.  So, instead I found some really cool things that I didn’t know about my favourite topic — animals!!!  I think you’ll find these fun and interesting, I guarantee you’ll learn something new!


reindeerWho knew that reindeer are the only deer species where both males and females grow antlers? The males shed theirs the beginning of December, the females shed theirs in the spring.  Now think about this one for a minute, folks.  Reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, toward the end of December.  The reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh always have antlers, yet male reindeer shed their antlers the beginning of December.  Perhaps all those male names like Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen need to be changed to Susie, Clara, Angela, Cassandra, etc!


elephantWho knew that elephants are one of only a handful of animals that can pass the mirror test — in other words, they can recognize their own reflection (and not think it’s another animal, as dogs and cats usually do)? They tested this by placing a chalk mark on an elephant’s forehead and then showing it a mirror. The elephant investigated the mark on its own forehead, indicating it knew that it was looking at itself. Now, I might argue that part about dogs and cats, for one of our Sig-Seven, Pandora, spends a good part of her day sitting on the vanity in the bathroom and looking at herself in the mirror.  She doesn’t attack her reflection, nor does she try to snuggle with it, she just stares at it.  But then, all of our Sig-Seven are strange, weird critters.


flamingoWho knew that while we have always thought flamingo’s knees bent backward, those are really their ankles?  Their knees are actually up by their body, and it bends the same way ours does.  Okaaaaaay … I guess I can see it.  So I wonder where they keep their hips?


pumaWho knew that big cats are classified as being either roaring or purring cats?  Lions and tigers are, obviously, of the roaring variety, while bobcats and lynxes are purrers.  The largest of the purring sort is the puma, also known as the mountain lion.  Its purr is quite loud and is said to sound much like an idling motorcycle.


polar bear.jpgWho knew that polar bears’ fur is not white?  Yep, you heard me right … their fur is actually transparent and only appears white because it reflects visible light.  Now, can you guess what the colour of their skin underneath that transparent fur is?  Black!  Sometimes you’ll notice a yellowish or greenish tint to their fur.  The yellow is a sign of aging, or sometimes dirt, while the green is from the algae that can grow on polar bear fur in unnaturally warm and humid environments such as are found in zoos.baby polar bearWhile the biggest polar bear ever recorded weighed a whopping 2,209 pounds, when they are born they weigh barely one pound!


kangaroo-3Who knew that Kangaroos cannot move their legs independently of each other, they have to move them in sync, but only when they’re on land? When they’re swimming, they can move them separately. Hopping is their most efficient way to move — a walking kangaroo is extremely awkward. They swing both legs forward using their tail as a third leg to prop up while their legs swing.


Who knew that although adult Langur monkeys are silvery-grey in colour, their babies are bright orange? Their fur begins to change to grey starting with its head so that for a short period of time it looks quite strange with only its body a bright orange.

langur-monkey-4

There are three main theories as to why the babies are born such a bright orange:

  • The babies are orange so mothers do not lose them when they explore the forest
  • Their bright colour helps them blend into their surroundings as predators are often colour blind and mistake orange for green
  • The orange colouring of infants makes it obvious there are babies in the troop so other adults should start to share the care for them

I think the first one seems the most likely.


And because I just cannot get enough of adorable polar bear babies …


Okay, friends, that’s all I’ve got for today.  I hope you learned something fun today, and that you have an absolutely wonderful weekend, whatever you do!