A Really Rotten Choice …

In early 2018, Trump nominated Richard Grenell as U.S. Ambassador to Germany.  I wrote then that Grenell was unfit for any number of reasons, not the least of which were that he was an aid to John Bolton, that he was a frequent contributor to Fox ‘News’, and that he was an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear agreement.  As if that weren’t sufficient, Grenell had a history of criticizing women, especially those in high-ranking positions.  Grenell might never have been confirmed to the ambassadorial position if there had been equity in the Senate, rather than a republican majority Senate led by the unconscionable Mitch McConnell.

grenell

Richard Grenell

But, he was confirmed, and he went to Germany and almost got himself expelled within the first month, after he criticized Germany’s NATO spending, criticized Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policy, and took sides against Merkel, attempting to incite other EU nations to reject her policies.  All of which, of course, is unthinkable for an ambassador, but … it’s the era of Trump, and Grenell was hand-picked by Trump. Then, just last year, Grenell was back in the news when he had the unmitigated gall to actually criticize the budget proposals of Germany’s finance minister!

Fast forward to yesterday, when Trump named Grenell to be the acting director of national intelligence overseeing the nation’s 17 spy agencies.  Yep, you heard me right, folks.  Now, even with ol’ Moscow Mitch keeping a tight rein on the Senate, this is one that would never fly, so … Trump has simply done what he’s done with so many other cabinet positions, and has made him the ‘acting’, or temporary director.

Grenell has little experience in intelligence or in running a large bureaucracy, but he apparently possesses the one and only qualification that Trump values … personal fealty to Trump.

Since Dan Coats’ resignation from the position of Director of National Intelligence last summer, Joseph Maguire has been serving as acting director.  There is a 210-day limit for acting cabinet members who have not been approved by the Senate, so the end of Mr. Maguire’s time, March 12th, is quickly approaching.  Trump intends Grenell to continue as Ambassador to Germany, while at the same time serving as acting DNI.  Hmmm … does this mean that neither of those jobs require full-time attention, that both are only part-time jobs?  The two combined are paid in excess of $150,000 annually … seems we’ve been paying some pretty high salaries for ‘part-time’ help, doesn’t it?

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted …

“I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, @RichardGrenell, will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence. Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him. I would like to thank Joe Maguire for the wonderful job he has done, and we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!”

There was some speculation that Trump intended to nominate Maguire to become the DNI for real, not just acting.  But wait … what’s this?

Sometime Wednesday, shortly before announcing Grenell’s temporary appointment, Trump found out that last week, a high-ranking intelligence officer, Shelby Pierson, reported to House lawmakers in a classified hearing that Russia wants to see President Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests (really???  What a shocker, eh?), and to that end are already plotting to aid Trump in the upcoming elections.

Devin-Nunes-cries

Devin Nunes

According to those in the know, Trump went ballistic when he found this out, and angrily confronted Maguire.  Trump initially believed, erroneously, that Pierson had given the information only to Representative Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, and guess who provided Trump with that information?  None other than the little weasel, and Trump sycophant, Devin Nunes.

Trump angrily asked Maguire why he had to learn of what Pierson had said from Nunes and not from his own aides, and said that Maguire should not have let the Capitol Hill briefing happen — particularly before he received the briefing — and that he should not have learned about it from a congressman.  I ask you to think about that one, folks … Trump believes he should control the information that Congress is allowed to receive???  I find this more than a little disturbing.  If he would withhold such critical information such as election interference and tampering from Congress, what would he withhold from We the People?

Trump told Maguire and other aides in the Oval Office that he did not believe Russia was interfering to help him or planning to do so, and that the intelligence community was getting “played.” He said that the information would be used against him unfairly and that he could not believe that people were believing such a story again, reflecting his opinion that Russian interference in 2016 was a “hoax” made up by officials with a political agenda.  Now, Trump knows that the Russians helped him get elected in 2016 … it has been proven time and again.  However, it doesn’t fit in with his agenda, so … it simply cannot be presented as factual.

As acting DNI, Grenell would oversee the intelligence community’s efforts to combat election interference and disinformation, but that is problematic, because Grenell has publicly said that he is very skeptical of the claims that Russia interfered in 2016.  How effective, then, will his department be at working to ensure a fair and honest election?  Not at all is my best guess, and I think that was Trump’s entire purpose in putting him in this position.  At the outside, without Senate confirmation Grenell can only remain in the position of Director until September 17th, approximately a month-and-a-half before the election, but plenty of time to allow or even assist the Russians in their disinformation campaign to help Trump in November.

Trump has instructed aides to identify and remove officials across the government who aren’t defending his interests, and he wants them replaced with loyalists (aka boot-lickers).  This, my friends, is only the beginning.  Trump is working overtime to ensure that one way or another, We the People are kept in the dark, and he will remain in office by hook or by crook.

A View From An Evangelical

Our friend Jeff has a new post that simply must be shared. He has connected with a member of the Christian evangelical community, albeit one who, unlike the rest, sees quite clearly what Donald Trump is, but tries to explain how his fellow evangelicals see him. This is well worth reading and pondering, for if we understand the thought processes of those who would make Trump king, perhaps we can counter them. Thank you, Jeff, and Jerry!

On The Fence Voters

A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to have an article of mine published at The Culture Crush digital and print magazine. It was called Under The Influence. Alongside my piece, another article was published by Jerry Gramckow entitled Against Interpretation. While mine dealt with how snake oil salesman have been wreaking havoc in our society for generations, Jerry’s went deep into the mind of the modern day evangelical. He should know, because he’s been in that community for 47 years. Today, I’m proud to publish a provocative post from Jerry that dives into Trumpworld from his own unique perspective. 

Jerry graduated from Multnomah University, a conservative evangelical institution, and served as an editor at two prominent evangelical Christian ministries. 

Thank You Jerry!

When The Right Thing To Do Is Wrong

By Jerry Gramckow

“There’s nothin’ you can do to turn me away, Nothin’ anyone can say. You’re with…

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The “Great” Debate …

I actually managed to watch the full debate last night without once trying to punch my computer or throw it across the room.  In fact, there were several points at which I laughed aloud, causing the girls to look at me in awe, for it is a sound they don’t often hear coming from me these days.  Typically, I think the value of the debates is far over-rated by the pundits, but it is an opportunity to see the candidates speak for themselves, see how they handle pressure under fire.  But, if I want to know what their platform is, I will go to OnTheIssues.org  which is the best place I have found over the years to get all the candidates’ platforms in one place.

What follows is only my takeaway from last night’s debate.  I have no doubt that others will have different opinions, but since I gave up two hours of my life that I can never get back, I thought the least I could do is opine just a bit.

There are six democratic candidates left from the 20+ that entered the race:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Joe Biden
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Michael Bloomberg

The main reason I watched this debate last night … the first one I watched all the way through … was that I wanted to see how Mike Bloomberg handled the pressure of the questions he was inevitably going to get regarding his racist profiling in the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented in New York City, and the reports of sexist behaviour toward women in his businesses.  So, let me start with my take on Bloomberg’s performance last night.

The first word that comes to mind here is: arrogant.  His body language and facial expressions said:  I’m above all of this, I’m far above all these others, why am I even here?  Not one time did he actually smile, not once did he engage in any form of camaraderie with the others, and he rolled his eyes several times when asked a question that he felt unfair, or when critiqued by another candidate.  I sometimes think that body language and facial expressions tell as much as the words that come out of a person’s mouth.

But going beyond that, Mr. Bloomberg’s responses were unsatisfying, at best.  He seemed to defend his stop-and-frisk policy, though he has apologized for it.  But an apology is just words, and as they say, actions speak louder than words.  His defense of the reasons he started the policy was a turn-off for me.  Then there was the little matter of the treatment of women in his company.  Much of what women have alleged, Bloomberg denies, and yet … and yet, those women have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements.  One must ask why.  Elizabeth Warren called on Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements so the public could hear their allegations, but Bloomberg flatly refused.  According to much of what I have read, Bloomberg’s attitudes toward women, his vulgar language and crass remarks, are no better than Donald Trump’s.  If he wants transparency, what better place to start?

There were two candidates whose fire and genuine passion stood out last night:  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  The media have declared Sanders the winner of the debate, but in my humble opinion, while they were both great, I’d give Warren the prize.  Perhaps this is a slight prejudice on my part, for I frankly think the time has come for us to steer away from the old, white, male image of the presidency.  Nonetheless, Warren showed us what she’s made of, and I liked it.

Joe Biden.  Sigh.  Poor Joe … by most standards, and judging by history, Joe Biden should be the #1 frontrunner.  He has the most applicable experience, he understands foreign policy in a way that not a single one of the others do, and he has good ideas.  What he lacks, though, is the persona.  He simply hasn’t got the passion, seems to have lost his way somewhere along the line.  Perhaps it is still the effects of his son’s death that have turned his world to grey, or perhaps it is the constant barrage of mindless accusations by Donald Trump that have taken the wind out of his sails.  Either way, he just wasn’t quite … there.

I like Pete Buttigieg, though perhaps not quite as much as I did in the beginning.  A few things stood out last night, but the biggest one was his almost continual attacks on Amy Klobuchar, some of which seemed unfair, to say the least.  The media, and Pete, have made much of the fact that when asked the name of the president of Mexico last week, she couldn’t remember.  It has been blown far out of proportion, and Buttigieg seized on it last night … unrelentingly.  Heck, there are days that I cannot remember my own name, let alone the president of Mexico’s!  Buttigieg does his homework, but it would have shown humanity to have let it drop.  He disappointed me in his attacks on Klobuchar. Buttigieg has a few things in his favour with me, though, and one is that while the other five have a net worth in the millions, or in Bloomberg’s case, billions, Pete Buttigieg’s net worth is approximately $100,000.  This impresses me far more than Bloomberg’s $63 billion.

I thought Amy handled the stress of Pete’s attacks fairly well, but a few times she did seem overly emotional, such as when she said, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?” Far too much has been made over a bit of momentary forgetfulness, I think.  Overall, I was impressed with Ms. Klobuchar’s heart.  I believe she cares very much about people and would be a strong advocate for human rights, but I have to wonder if she’s a bit too emotional and too thin-skinned for the job of president, for more than once it seemed as if she was near tears.

As for the debate itself … two main takeaways.  First, while climate change and the environment was briefly discussed, it was altogether too brief.  When the DNC refused to hold a debate focused solely on climate change, they made a huge mistake, in my book, for this is the single most crucial issue on the ballot.  While each candidate said one of their first moves as president would be to re-join the Paris Accords, that’s about all we learned.  I want to know details!  I want to know more than the 5 minutes or so that climate change was discussed last night provided.

Secondly, I was put off and rather disgusted by the structure of the debate.  Candidates had small bits of time to answer a question, then when time was up they kept on talking, while all the others on stage were rudely interrupting, and with six people plus the moderators all talking at once, the closed captioning was useless and it was impossible to discern what anybody was saying.  I don’t know what the answer to this is for future debates, but I do wish somebody would come up with one.  It would have been far more helpful if all the candidates had stuck with giving their opinions of the issues rather than their opinions of their opponents.

Overall, I was glad I watched for I got a bit of a feel for the personas of the candidates, but as I said in the beginning, if I want to know their platforms and ideologies, I’ll turn to another venue.   Unfortunately, the infighting is doing nobody any good, and it is almost certain that no single candidate will end up with a clear majority by the time of the nominating convention in mid-July, which opens a whole ‘nother can of worms.  Sigh.

♫ Rainy Night in Georgia ♫ (Redux)

I played this one back in October 2018, but tonight I’m playing it again.  Why?  Oh, I dunno … just had a notion to play it again.  I added a version this time, though, so that kind of, sort of qualifies it as a new post, yes?

Written by Tony Joe White in 1967 and popularized by R&B vocalist Brook Benton in 1970, this song has been recorded by a host of other artists as well, including Ray Charles, Randy Crawford, Johnny Rivers, Hank Williams, BJ Thomas and others.

The backstory by Tony Joe White …

When I got out of high school I went to Marietta, Georgia, I had a sister living there. I went down there to get a job and I was playing guitar too at the house and stuff. I drove a dump truck for the highway department and when it would rain you didn’t have to go to work. You could stay home and play your guitar and hangout all night. So those thoughts came back to me when I moved on to Texas about three months later. I heard “Ode to Billie Joe” on the radio and I thought, man, how real, because I am Billie Joe, I know that life. I’ve been in the cotton fields. So I thought if I ever tried to write, I’m going to write about something I know about. At that time I was doing a lot of Elvis and John Lee Hooker onstage with my drummer. No original songs and I hadn’t really thought about it. But after I heard Bobbie Gentry I sat down and thought … well I know about Polk because I had ate a bunch of it and I knew about rainy nights because I spent a lot of rainy nights in Marietta, Georgia. So I was real lucky with my first tries to write something that was not only real and hit pretty close to the bone, but lasted that long. So it was kind of a guide for me then on through life to always try to write what I know about.

The Brook Benton version is the most popular …

But I’ve always been partial to Aaron Neville …

But Randy Crawford does it up well, too …

Take your pick!

Rainy Night in Georgia
Brook Benton/Aaron Neville/Randy Crawford

Hoverin’ by my suitcase
Tryin’ to find a warm place to spend the night
A heavy rain a fallin’
Seems I hear your voice callin’
“It’s all right”

A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world

Neon signs a flashin’
Taxi cabs and busses passin’ through the night
The distant moanin’ of a train
Seems to play a sad refrain to the night

A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world

How many times I’ve wondered
It still comes out the same
No matter how you look at it, think of it
You just got to do your own thing

I find me a place in a box car
So I take out my guitar to pass some time
Late at night when it’s hard to rest
I hold your picture to my chest
And I’m all right

A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world

Songwriters: Tony White / Tony Joe White
Rainy Night in Georgia by Brook Benton lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Considering Michael Bloomberg And A Worry For Another Time

Greg is the other half of On the Fence Voters, though for a number of reasons, he has been unable to post for several months. But, yesterday he wrote a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post about Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy, and he brought up some points that I think we must all be willing to consider. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent post and let Greg know your thoughts! Thank you, Greg, and it’s great to hear from you!

On The Fence Voters

I’ve heard a lot of disapproving talk about Michael Bloomberg trying to ‘buy’ his way into the Presidency, and it’s certainly understandable.  It’s true that electing our president should only be about finding the best man or woman to lead our country.  It shouldn’t be about who can outspend all the others, but unfortunately that’s what it’s come to in America.  In this election year, however, our top priority must be in nominating whichever candidate seems most likely to defeat Donald Trump. We should be thinking of almost nothing else. Money in our politics is definitely a problem but I think this time around, it’s a worry for another time.

It doesn’t bother me so much that Bloomberg has unlimited funds to spend in his campaign because I think there are simply too many other pressing concerns.  I admit I’m looking for a savior.  Most people I talk to are…

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Filosofa is Snarky … Again

♫ I feel snarky, I feel snarky … ♫  Oh … hi!  In case you didn’t hear, I am feeling a bit snarky this afternoon!  But then, when don’t I feel snarky these days?


What the heck are they doing???

Today marks 173 years since rescuers first reached the Donner party who had been stranded by a snowstorm as they tried to make their way across the Sierra-Nevada Mountains.  The Donner story is a tragic one … of the 89 people that set out from Springfield, Illinois, in the summer of 1846, only 45 would survive.  But what the Donner story is most well-known for is that after they killed and ate their dogs and pack animals to keep from starving, they then began to eat their own, even killing two Native Americans who had joined their party, and roasting them.

Why, you ask, do I bring up the Donner story now?  They ate their own.  There is a parallel between the Donner party in 1846-47 and the Democratic Party in 2020, for the democrats seem to be hellbent and determined to lose the election in November by eating their own.

Bernie Sanders is polling at the head of the pack, a full 16 points ahead of #2 candidate Joe Biden.  So, wouldn’t you think democrats would get behind Bernie, help lift him?  After all, the democrats have stated more than once that the goal is to beat Trump, and much as I hate it, much as I would prefer to see a campaign based on the issues, I agree that the reign of Donald Trump must come to an end.

But, instead of patting Bernie on the back, helping make his candidacy even stronger, the pack is trying to eat Bernie!  Now, what sense does that make?  According to Politico, a democratic group called the Big Tent Project, has launched a million-dollar ad campaign in South Carolina and Nevada intended to bash Senator Sanders.  They are running two ads.  The first accuses Sanders of dumping waste in Latino communities — and profiting from it.

The second ad goes to the heart of some of the more moderate democrats’ concerns, that his plans are too aggressive, and too expensive.  The script …

“Socalist Bernie Sanders promises the world. But at what cost? Sixty trillion in new spending. Losing our private health care. Largest middle-class tax hike ever. The cost? Another four years of Donald Trump.”

Wow … why not just shoot him and be done with it?  The jackals who are stirring this pot are the very ones who will be handing Donald Trump the keys to the kingdom and he will stay in office until his death.  With our luck, he’ll live to be 100.

Come on, democrats … wake up!  Bernie Sanders is NOT the enemy, nor is Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden.  The enemy is sitting on his fat ass eating a Big Mac on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office!  STOP the damn infighting, stop supporting groups that put out these ads!  Believe me, the republicans will be running a full-throttle campaign of ads against Sanders and all the others … the democrats don’t need to join forces with them!  I can hear the republicans laughing now, saying, “Hell, boys, we don’t need to waste money on ads … they’re doin’ it for us!”

“United we stand, divided we fall” – John Dickinson

“Divide et impera” (Divide and conquer) – Julius Caesar


In other news …

According to The Guardian …

“Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.

The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court before the opening next week of Assange’s legal battle to block attempts to extradite him to the US.

Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, referred to evidence alleging that the former US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher had been to see Assange, now 48, while he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy in August 2017.

A statement from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson shows “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange … said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks”, Fitzgerald told Westminster magistrates court.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is hearing the case at Westminster, said the evidence is admissible.

Assange is wanted in America to face 18 charges, including conspiring to commit computer intrusion, over the publication of US cables a decade ago.

He could face up to 175 years in jail if found guilty. He is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.”

Can we say … WITNESS TAMPERING?????  Yet another criminal and impeachable offense to add to the ever-growing list.  Yo … republican senators!!!  Wake UP!!!


Okay, my blood pressure is sufficiently high … I’m going to go wash dishes and fold laundry now.

♫ Margaritaville ♫

Now, this song isn’t likely a favourite of most of you, but bear with me, for there is a reason I’m playing it tonight.  You know that when I get a song stuck in my head, you’re going to hear it, for that’s about the only way I can exorcise it!  And there is a reason … a single line, actually … for this one being in my head!  I shall attempt to ‘splain.

I had concluded that I was losing what few marbles I had left.  On Monday, I was upstairs gathering towels for the laundry, when I remembered that the downstairs bathroom needed some toilet paper, so I tossed two rolls into the laundry basket to bring it downstairs.  Well, long story short, by the time I got to the bottom of the 15 stairs, I had forgotten all about the toilet paper, so it, along with numerous towels and washcloths, got tossed into the washing machine.  Took me an hour-and-a-half to clean up that mess!

But then, on Monday night, I lost the salt shaker.  It’s a nice salt shaker, big enough to only need re-filling once a month or so, lots of holes in the top …salt-shaker

I had used it to salt my food on Monday evening, and then … poof … it was gone!  We always keep it on the back of the stove, but it was nowhere to be seen.  Miss Goose and I both searched high and low yesterday … every cabinet, drawer … the pantry, the freezer, the fridge.  I even routed through ashes and kitty litter in the trash, but to no avail.  So, the song connection now becomes obvious, right?  There is a line in this song that goes … “Searchin’ for my large shaker of salt”.  As I tore my kitchen apart seeking my ‘large shaker of salt’, I was belting out this song at the top of my lungs, and … it got stuck in my head.  Oh, by the way … we found the salt shaker after daughter Chris came home tonight and I, with my head hung in humiliation, admitted that I had lost the salt shaker.  She, then remembered that she in fact had ‘borrowed’ it and buried it between the cushions of the sofa!  To my credit, I only yelled for a few minutes, and mostly in jest.

Long story short … if I’ve gotta have it stuck in my head, then you’ve gotta at least give it a listen.

Buffett wrote this song in Key West, Florida after he finished a tour with his group, the Coral Reefer Band. They had just toured Texas, and Buffett spent some time drinking Margaritas in a Mexican restaurant with a friend before going back to Key West. When he got there, he sat at the Old Anchor Inn watching gridlock on the roads – and used it as inspiration as he composed the song.

Buffett recorded this song at Criteria Studios in Miami with producer Norbert Putnam. Buffett and Putnam met in Nashville, which is where each did most of their work. When Buffett asked Putnam to work on an album of songs about a carefree lifestyle by the water, Putnam told him that he needed to be near the water when recording it if he was going to pull it off, so Miami it was. Putnam said …

“One day in the studio, he comes in and starts telling me about a day he had in Key West. He was coming home from a bar and he lost one of his flip-flops and he stepped on a beer can top and he couldn’t find the salt for his Margarita. He says he’s writing lyrics to it and I say ‘That’s a terrible idea for a song.’ He comes back in a few days later with ‘Wasted Away Again In Margaritaville’ and plays it and right then everyone knows it’s a hit song. Hell, it wasn’t a song – it was a movie.”

Margaritaville
Jimmy Buffett

Nibblin’ on sponge cake
Watchin’ the sun bake
All of those tourists covered with oil
Strummin’ my six string on my front porch swing
Smell those shrimp they’re beginnin’ to boil

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my long lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s nobody’s fault

Don’t know the reason
Stayed here all season
Nothing to show but this brand new tattoo
But it’s a real beauty
A Mexican cutie
How it got here I haven’t a clue

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
Now I think hell it could be my fault

I blew out my flip flop
Stepped on a pop top
Cut my heel had to cruise on back home
But there’s booze in the blender
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s my own damn fault

Yes and some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
And I know it’s my own damn fault

Songwriters: Jimmy Buffett
Margaritaville lyrics © Coral Reefer Music, Kobalt

Good People Doing Good Things — We Just Never Know

For some reason, every time I Google “good people doing good”, I’m directed back to Filosofa’s Word.  I realize that’s a good thing … an honour, really, to be among Google’s first picks … but not terribly helpful.  Still, I’ve managed to find some good people.  Today I’m focusing, as I often do, on little things that make a big difference.


Dr-Don-RiceDr. Don Rice is a Urgent Care Medicine Specialist in Lincoln, Nebraska.  On Monday, Dr. Rice decided to do something special for National Random Acts of Kindness Day, so … he helped the 80 patients that came into the clinic that day by paying their co-pay for the visit!  The average co-pay being around $50, Dr. Rice estimates he spent around $4,000 that day.  Says the doc …

“I think that we have a culture that sometimes forgets that we can have a much better world if we start being kinder to each other.”

Rice says the random act was inspired by a kind family friend, who died from cancer.

“Even though she had two types of cancer, was always giving to other people, so we thought it would be fun to do this in her honor.”

A relatively small thing?  Sure … but maybe for some people that extra $50 meant they could have a bit extra with their supper or buy their child a much-needed new pair of shoes.  You just never know, do you?

Thumbs up to Dr. Don Rice!!!


If you lived in Idaho Falls, Idaho, you probably saw a good bit of snow last week.  You might also have looked out your window and seen …shoveling

Yep, those are some of the members of the Idaho Falls fire department out shoveling driveways and sidewalks for the town’s residents.  One resident, Eric Nelson, said …

“I actually thought my wife was the one that did it and she thought I did it. We didn’t realize until I thanked her for it later that night and she said she thought it was me. Totally surprised.”

Again, just a little thing, but … these guys didn’t have to do it … they could have stayed warm and cozy in the firehouse until a call came in, but instead they chose to help people.  And maybe … just maybe, they saved an elderly person from slipping and falling on the ice and breaking a hip.  We’ll never know, will we?


Raj Singh owns his own taxi service in Roseville, California, and one day last week he got a call to pick up an elderly woman – 92 years old, to be exact – for she needed a ride to her bank.  When he started chatting with her, she told him she was about to withdraw $25,000 to settle a debt with the IRS.  Well, as you can imagine, warning bells went off in Raj’s head!

As Singh talked to the woman, trying to find out more, she told him that someone had called her and asked for the money. When he asked if it was a family member, the woman grew silent.  Singh finally got her to agree to let him call the number to the person who was posing as an IRS employee.

“We called this number again and I asked the man, ‘Do you know this lady?’ He said no. I knew something was wrong.”

When Singh pressed the man, saying the woman was 92 years old and she was nervous, the man hung up on him. After repeated calls back, Singh said the number blocked them.  Despite that, Singh said the woman still didn’t believe him, so he came up with another idea.

Raj knew she was being scammed, but … how to convince her?  Finally, he talked her into letting him stop by the police station.  Singh spoke with an officer in the station, who then spoke with the woman, and the officer was finally able to convince her that she was being scammed.

Singh took his passenger home, her bank account saved. A week after the potential scam was thwarted, Singh said he got a call asking him to come back to the station where officers gave Singh a $50 gift card to thank him for what he did.Raj-SinghRoseville police posted on their Facebook page …

“We love this story because several times throughout, Raj could have just taken his customer to her stop and not worried about her wellbeing. He took time from his day and had the great forethought to bring the almost-victim to the police station for an official response.  His quick thinking saved a senior citizen $25,000 and for that, we greatly appreciate his efforts.” 

Another one of those ‘little things’, but this one saved an elderly woman … perhaps her life savings.  We never know, do we?


And lastly, I came across this story on a friend’s blog, Nuggets of Gold and thought it made a great addition to this post.  Thank you, Miss Joy Roses!

Jayme Woolley is 16-years-old and attends Axtell High School, just outside Waco, Texas.  Now, guys buy flowers on Valentine’s Day for their girls, but Jayme … well, he went a step or two further.  Young Jayme bought a flower for every girl in his school between 6th and 12th grade!

Jayme’s mom, Amy Gordon, posted a photo on Facebook showing 170 roses lying across their living room floor.flowers-1On the 14th, Jayme waited by the entrance to Axtell, placed the flowers in silver tins and handed them out to each girl as they walked into school.JaymeNow why did he do that?  Because, he said, he wanted to make every girl at Axtell High School feel special.  Wow, huh?  And maybe, just maybe, one of those girls was very much in need of a bit of love, needed just for a moment to feel special.  We just never know, do we?


Remember, folks, if you see a chance to be a good people, be one!  You just never know what a difference a small act of kindness might make in someone’s life.

Something To Think About

I have spent the last three years warning that Donald Trump was a wanna-be king, that he would turn the presidency into a dictatorship, given half a chance.  It seems that now, three years into his reign, others are seeing it, too.  Max Boot’s column in The Washington Post last Saturday sums it up well.

This is how democracy dies — in full view of a public that couldn’t care less

By Max Boot, Columnist

Feb. 15, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. EST

Max-Boot

The French philosopher Montesquieu wrote in 1748: “The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.” We are seeing his warning vindicated. President Trump is increasingly acting as a tyrannical (and erratic) prince. And yet much of the public is so inured to his misconduct that his latest assaults on the rule of law are met with a collective shrug. Public passivity is Trump’s secret weapon as he pursues his authoritarian agenda. “I have the right to do whatever I want,” he says, and the lack of pushback seems to confirm it.

So much bad has happened since Trump was unjustly acquitted by the Senate of two articles of impeachment on Feb. 5 that it’s hard to keep it all straight.

Trump fired Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for complying with a congressional subpoena and providing truthful testimony about Trump’s attempts to extort Ukraine into aiding him politically. Also ousted was Vindman’s brother, who did not testify. This sends a mob-like message: If you turn stool pigeon, your family gets it, too.

Trump’s ongoing quest for retribution has also claimed Jessie K. Liu, who was abruptly removed as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and replaced by a close aide to Attorney General William P. Barr after prosecuting Trump loyalists, including Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. Now Liu’s nomination to a senior Treasury Department position has been withdrawn. Next on the chopping block may be Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon official who tried to tell the Office of Management and Budget that Trump had no right to withhold aid to Ukraine. The New York Post reported that her nomination to be Pentagon comptroller will be withdrawn. (McCusker denies the report.)

While punishing those who dared to tell the truth, Trump is protecting those who assist his coverup. He inveighed against the request of federal prosecutors, following normal sentencing guidelines, to give Stone a seven- to nine-year prison sentence for witness tampering and lying to Congress. Trump also attacked the judge overseeing Stone’s case and the forewoman of the jury that convicted him. The Justice Department then asked for a reduced sentence. Four prosecutors resigned from the case in protest, and one quit the Justice Department.

Even Barr was driven to denounce Trump’s public interference in the legal system, saying that the president’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.” In response, Trump asserted that he has the “legal right” to determine who gets prosecuted — technically true but hardly in keeping with American tradition.

Barr’s protests ring hollow given how eager he has been to subvert his own department on Trump’s behalf — for example, by mischaracterizing the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Barr has appointed one prosecutor to review Flynn’s conviction and another to investigate the FBI and CIA personnel who uncovered the Russian plot to elect Trump in 2016. The New York Times reports that the latter prosecutor, John H. Durham, has raised alarm in the intelligence community by appearing to pursue a theory, popular among right-wing conspiracy mongers, “that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result.”

Anxiety about attempts to politicize justice will only grow because of a Post report that Trump was furious that the Justice Department did not file charges against former FBI director James B. Comey and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe — even though there is no evidence that either of these men broke any laws. After learning that his enemies were not being indicted, The Post reports, “Trump has become more insistent that Durham finish his work soon,” because he “wants to be able to use whatever Durham finds as a cudgel in his reelection campaign.”

As Justice Department veteran David Laufman writes, “We are now truly at a break-glass-in-case-of-fire moment for the Justice Dept.” But does anyone give a damn? Democratic lawmakers are, to be sure, perturbed, but it’s easy (if unfair) to write off their outrage as mere partisanship. Republican members of Congress, as usual, either have nothing to say or offer ineffectual expressions of “concern.”

And the public? I don’t see massive marches in the streets. I don’t see people flooding their members of Congress with calls and emails. I don’t see the outrage that is warranted — and necessary. I see passivity, resignation and acquiescence from a distracted electorate that has come to accept Trump’s aberrant behavior as the norm.

A recent Gallup poll found that Trump’s approval rating among Republicans — the supposed law-and-order party — is at a record-high 94 percent. His support in the country as a whole is only 43.4 percent in the FiveThirtyEight average, but he is still well positioned to win reelection, because most people seem to care a lot more about the strength of the stock market than about the strength of our democracy. This is how democracies die — not in darkness but in full view of a public that couldn’t care less.

*Note to readers:  Since this article was published three days ago, Trumps approval rating according to the FiveThirtyEight average has risen from 43.4% to 43.9%.

♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫

Marvin Gaye.  Motown.  Sigh … they just don’t make it like that anymore, my friends.

This song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966.  Strong first came up with the idea and asked the famous Motown songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland to work on it with them, but the team refused to credit another writer, so Whitfield and Strong it was.

The first recording of the song to be released was produced by Whitfield for Gladys Knight & the Pips and released as a single in September 1967 when it went to number two in the Billboard chart.  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were the first to record the song, but theirs wouldn’t be released for

The Marvin Gaye version was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, where it gained the attention of radio disc jockeys, and Motown founder Berry Gordy finally agreed to its release as a single in October 1968, when it went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks from December 1968 to January 1969 and became for a time the biggest hit single on the Motown label.

I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Marvin Gaye

Ooh, I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew
‘Bout your plans to make me blue
With some other guy you knew before
Between the two of us guys you know I love you more
It took me by surprise I must say
When I found out yesterday
Don’tcha know that I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
Oh I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh)

I know a man ain’t supposed to cry
But these tears I can’t hold inside
Losin’ you would end my life you see
‘Cause you mean that much to me
You could have told me yourself
That you love someone else
Instead I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
And I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

People say believe half of what you see, son
And none of what you hear
But I can’t help bein’ confused
If it’s true please tell me dear
Do you plan to let me go
For the other guy you loved before?
Don’tcha know I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Baby I heard it through the grapevine
Ooh I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

Honey, honey, I know
That you’re lettin’ me go
Said, I heard it through the grapevine
Heard it through the grapevine

Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield
I Heard It Through the Grapevine (American Tour Live) lyrics © Stone Agate Music, Emi Music Publishing France, Jobete Music Co Inc, Stone Agate Music Corp