Good People Doing Good Things — Little Things

With the exception of the first story, today’s ‘good people’ are all doing small things but … boy, sometimes those little things sure can mean a lot!


For more than 20 years, the nonprofit Students Rising Above (SRA) has provided low-income, first-generation college students with financial assistance, internships, career counseling and more.

Now, the nonprofit has announced another incredible milestone. Anonymous donors have stepped forward with a gift that will change the lives of approximately 400 graduates – providing up to $8 million to pay off their college debt.

Elizabeth Devaney, CEO at SRA, informed the students with a surprise announcement on a Zoom video call.

“What I want to share with you tonight is that anonymous SRA donors have presented us with a remarkable gift. It’s intent is to eliminate student loan debt for you.”

Students like Dr. Zachary Tabb, who graduated medical school two years ago and owes around $160,000, is now going to be debt-free.

“It’s life changing. I’ve had debt … really my entire adult life. And so, it’s just something that everywhere you go, it follows you … So… this has been nice in that way where I can sort of look broader in terms of what I do next.”

Law school graduate Kimberly Armstrong owes nearly $300,000 in student loans.

“It’s a shock. It’s amazing. It’s a relief, though. Once you start kind of setting in, there’s this weight that, comes off of you. Literally, it’s a weight lifted.”

What a wonderful group of anonymous people!!!


Ms, Ingeborg is a teacher of the Bavinck school in Haarlem in the Netherlands. The school had closed early due to the coronavirus pandemic, like all schools around the world.

“It was all up and running that the school closed. It all hit me like this. The children were no longer in school. And I miss them so much.”

One day while browsing Pinterest, she saw a knitted doll. Without any lessons, she decided she was going to knit a doll for each of her 23 students!dollsThe teacher clothed the dolls to each student’s preference. The girls who wore cardigans to school, she made cardigans for on their doll. The boys that wore sweaters, had sweaters. She even included details like freckles and glasses.

When the students came to the school one by one to collect their belongings, she gave out the dolls to the children, who were really excited to see them in person.

Ms. Ingeborg even made a doll of herself!teacher-dollHer students loved the dolls so much, Ms. Ingeborg says she plans to make them each year for her students.


Josh Crowell, who delivers mail on routes near Concord, New Hampshire, has been delivering hand-written notes with a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card to homes with graduation signs on their lawns.

So far, Crowell has handed out at least 25 gift cards.

“$5 isn’t much, but it’s something so that the kids can get out of the house and go get a doughnut and an iced coffee.  I’m not very well-off myself, but I look at it as, if I put a smile on somebody’s face, then I will do it.”

postal-workerNo, $5 isn’t much, but on a mail carrier’s salary, it’s a lot … and it’s the thought, the caring, that counts most.  He’s received many thank-you notes from seniors responding to his gift cards. One of the thank-you cards read …

“This year has not been easy for most, but I think being able to make someone’s day is important. … Thank you for being an essential worker, it means a lot.”

Thumbs up to Mr. Crowell!


Chelsea Phaire is ten years old and lives in Danbury, Connecticut.  Chelsea’s parents helped her launch “Chelsea’s Charity”  on her birthday in August 2019, when she asked party guests to donate art supplies instead of getting her birthday gifts. Says Chelsea’s mom, Candace …

“Since she was seven, she was begging me and her dad to start a charity. She was so persistent, every couple of months she would ask, ‘Are we starting Chelsea’s Charity yet?’ When she was turning 10, she asked us again, and we decided it was time to go for it.”

Chelsea-PhaireThrough her charity, Chelsea Phaire has sent more than 1,500 art kits — which include markers, crayons, paper, coloring books, and colored pencils — to homeless shelters and foster care homes art kits to give the children something uplifting to do when they’re feeling down.

I was thinking about this, thinking that I’ve never considered that particular need, and it came to me … it takes a kid to understand what kids most need!

After her birthday, Chelsea used the donations to send out her first 40 art kits to a homeless shelter in New York.  Before the pandemic, Chelsea traveled with her mom across the country to meet the kids in-person and taught them some of her favorite drawing techniques.  Now that Chelsea is unable to physically interact with the kids, she is mailing the art kits. Since March, when schools began to close, Chelsea has sent over 1,500 kits to schools, shelters, and foster homes in 12 states across the U.S.


A few weeks ago, as an addition to my ‘good people’ post, I added a “good critter stories” section and noted that from time to time I might find critters helping others, whether it be humans or other critters.  I was touched today by this crow who appeared to be helping a hedgehog cross the street …


Lately, I’ve taken inventory of myself and found myself lacking. Each week when I write these good people posts, they lift my spirits, but they also make me feel that all I’m doing is writing about those who are out there actually doing good things.  I no longer volunteer my time at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen as I once did, I haven’t rescued a stray critter for several years now … well, I really can’t seem to do much. Quite frankly, it has been a source of some depression for me, feeling next to useless in this world.  I was discussing this with our friend David the other night, and he posited that perhaps it’s enough that I shine the light on these good people, and maybe I motivate some of my readers to do some small acts to help others.  I like to think he’s right. Think of these people doing little things … let’s all try to find some little thing we can do to bring a ray of light into someone else’s life, shall we?

Not The “Grand” Ol’ Party” Anymore

Boy, the GOP sure has a lot of class these days, don’t they?  Remember when GOP stood for ‘Grand Old Party’?  Nothing grand about them today … old, yes, but damn sure not grand.  It started long ago, but once they threw their weight behind the least classy person on the planet, they have sunk to several all-time lows in U.S. politics, and seemingly with no remorse, no shame.

The latest?


Well, for starters, Trump’s son Eric.  Now, we should probably give Eric a pass, for you can look at him and tell that, like his father, he’s a bit dimwitted.  Still, somebody should have stopped him from speaking in public long ago, for he seems to take some great pride in his idiocy.  Last week, during an interview with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro, he made the following claim …

“They think they’re taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time.  You watch — they’ll milk it every single day between now and November 3. And guess what? After November 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen. They’re trying to deprive him of his greatest asset.”

Eric-TrumpOnly one problem with Eric’s theory, which is that more than 350,000 people around the world have died, 100,269 in the U.S.  So, what???  Did France, Italy, Spain, the UK and every other nation on earth collude with U.S. Democrats to perpetuate this “hoax”?  What about those bodies, Eric?  How to you explain the deaths?  How do you explain the fact that every nation in the Western world has closed businesses, some issuing strict lockdown orders?  All just to defeat your father?  Guess what?  Donald Trump is just not that important … not by any stretch of the imagination.  Eric is, as always, an idiot.


And then, there’s Trump senior, who went on a bit of a tirade over the weekend, as he seems to do whenever there is a holiday weekend.  I guess he gets bored, but this time he called people names, fat-shamed a democrat, and just generally acted like a 13-year-old boy in heat.  He has done some extremely low-brow stunts before, such as the time he showed a doctored video of himself beating up a reporter, but this one takes the cake.  In normal times, the FCC would step in and ban this ad.

Last week, Joe Biden made one of his gaffes.  In the grand scheme of things, while it was a stupid thing to say, it only rates about a 1 on the stupid scale, while most times Trump opens his mouth, it rates at least an 8.  However, Trump will play up Joe’s gaffe for more than it’s worth.  He posted a doctored meme and a doctored video showing Ghana’s dancing pallbearers (a tradition in Ghana) carrying a casket marked “Biden”.  This is not only tasteless, but is against FCC rules.  But then, Trump can do anything he wants, according to AG William Barr, so …


I told you last week about his wrongful accusation against journalist Joe Scarborough, accusing him of murdering an intern on his staff back in the days when Scarborough was in the House of Representatives.  There was no basis for Trump’s accusation … the staffer died of a heart condition in 2001, the autopsy and police investigation at the time revealed no sign of foul play, and Scarborough wasn’t even in the same state at the time!  But the Idiot-in-Chief can’t abide the fact that Scarborough, a republican, is holding Trump’s feet to the fire, is not reporting on the “party line” as his buddies over at Fox do.

Well, the upshot of this one is that the deceased woman’s husband, Timothy J. Klausutis, wrote a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to please remove Trump’s tweets.  The letter reads, in part …

“My request is simple: Please delete these tweets … I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the president of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain.”

Very eloquently stated, and if I were Mr. Dorsey, I would have taken the tweets down immediately and given Trump a final warning.  But, don’t expect any attack of conscience on the part of Twitter.  A “spokesperson” responded …

“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family. We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”

What a crock of compassion, huh?  I hope Mr. Klausutis files suit against Twitter and wins!  This is eerily reminiscent of the pain caused by Alex Jones’ unfounded conspiracy theory that Sandy Hook never happened.  What the Sam Hell is wrong with people?

Trump’s tweets in this and many other instances do not fall under ‘freedom of speech’, but rather of hijacking a public platform to spread filth and lies.


No, my friends, there is zero class or dignity within the GOP in this, the era of Trump.  Every single republican who condones these behaviours … false premises, conspiracy theories, name-calling … is beneath contempt.  Any republican who fails to speak out against these atrocities must share the guilt of Trump, his ignoble sons, the greedy Jack Dorsey, and others who allow this abominable behaviour.  Quite literally, this is not a nation I respect or even like anymore.  That people tolerate this sort of behaviour, that there are no longer filters for people’s speech and actions, disgusts me.  No, the GOP is no longer the ‘grand’ anything.

Just Two Snippets Of Snark Today …

Trump seems to be occupying a heck of a lot of space on my radar screen these days, pushing out most everyone else.  I hoped to write about something else today, but fools, idiots and Trump were all I could see on my radar.  So …


Another temper tantrum …

Trump is threatening to change the venue for the Republican National Convention in August.  Initially planned for an Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump’s complaint now is that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper cannot promise that a packed arena will be allowed under the state’s rules to protect people from the spread of the coronavirus.

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the arena.  In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!”

Now, I fully understand Governor Cooper’s reticence to commit to allowing thousands of people into the arena to mingle and share their germs.  However, think about it.  If the republicans who would attend are so ignorant that they would risk not only their own lives, but also those of their families … let them. Trump’s alternative venue is Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is one of the first to throw the doors to the state wide open and throw caution to the winds.  DeSantis, like Trump, has no concern for the lives of people, but only the financial well-being of the wealthy, the tourism dollars that would be put into the state’s coffers.

The only thing that puzzles me is why Trump even cares if there is a convention, for all those who would oppose him have been shoved out of the race by the GOP, so the outcome is a given.  Why bother, why spend all that money and put so many people at risk, when the conclusion is already signed, sealed, delivered?


Lost meaning?

Memorial Day in the United States, celebrated on the last Monday in May, is intended to be a day set aside to remember and honour those who died in service to the nation, those who defended not only this nation, but allied nations as well.  Instead, it has become largely just another day to grill out, drink beer, and socialize.  While you might expect this year to be different, with protections in place to try to protect people from the coronavirus, people don’t have too many brains these days.

People flocked to beaches and other public venues, acting as if their pleasure was the most important thing on earth, and not giving a damn about the lives of others.  Surprised?  I wasn’t surprised, but I am disappointed.  But then, what’s new … I’ve been disappointed in the human race most of my adult life now.

When you have a fool at the helm of the ship, though, the rest will follow.  Trump, in the spirit of patriotism, took the opportunity to mock former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ weight, ridicule the looks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and call former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton a “skank.”  What a way to honour dead soldiers, eh?  But then … being a draft-dodger, he’s already proven to us that he has no respect for the military. What a stalwart example he sets for the masses, eh?  No wonder the U.S. is so hate-filled … it filters down from the top.

Oh, and you know how demanding Trump was that the churches all re-open this weekend?  Well, that was a ploy to please his evangelical base, for Trump himself was out on the golf course again on Sunday morning. Not that I mind … I’m hoping that with all his layers of … er … blubber, the exertion will be too much for him someday, else he’ll get swallowed by a sand trap.


I came across these two cartoons yesterday while on my search for Jolly Monday ‘toons, and thought that, while not appropriate for the non-political Jolly Monday, they would be perfect for a snarky snippets post.

dim-reaperTitanic

Jolly Is-It-Monday-Already?

Monday-sleepy-2Huh?  Jolly, why are all our friends here this morning … it’s only … it’s only … what day is it, anyway?  Huh?  Monday???  Are you sure?  Sigh.  Uh … hi folks!  I’m sorry … I haven’t been sleeping well the last few nights and I guess it’s catching up with me.  Just give me a second to put on some clothes and we’ll see what we can find to start the week off with a smile or a chuckle.  Meanwhile … Jolly, would you put a few snacks out for our friends, and make a fresh pot of coffee?  Oh … and don’t forget rawgod’s tea!!!

Food-Seeping-Tea


I almost missed it … would have missed it if not for my dear friend Ellen who, knowing and sharing my preference for a nice glass of wine 🍷 in the evening, emailed yesterday to tell me that today is National Wine Day!  Now, I could bore you with the fermentation process and all that, but I found what Ellen told me to be much more interesting!

In 1867 archaeologists in Germany discovered the oldest bottle of wine in existence whilst excavating two Roman stone sarcophagi. The bottle dates back to 325 AD and has since been displayed at a History Museum in Germany.  They say wine improves with age, but frankly … that wine has been in that bottle for 1,625 years … I’m just not sure I’m brave enough to try it.  I think I’ll stick with my cheap cream sherry.  This one’s for you, Ellen  🥂.


It’s hard to keep kids entertained in these days when schools are closed, most parks and other recreation venues are closed, and it’s been over two months now.  So, 6-year-old Knox Brewer’s parents showed him a YouTube video about magnet fishing to stir his enthusiasm for a new hobby.

According to Wikipedia, magnet fishing …

“… is searching in outdoor waters for ferromagnetic objects available to pull with a strong neodymium magnet. The hobby has been adopted by celebrities such as English rugby player James Haskell. The hobby is a combination of environmentalism and treasure hunting.”

According to Ms. Brewer …

“We got it to help pass the time during the virus. He’s learned about which rocks are magnetic and which aren’t.”

Magnetic rocks?  Who knew?

Imagine young Knox’ surprise, however, when he dipped his magnet-laden line into the water on Whitney Lake in South Carolina and pulled up something so heavy he needed help.  No tin cans or lost coins or even magnetic rocks weighed this much!  With the help of a nearby good Samaritan, Knox was able to pull up his treasure … literally a treasure … a metal safe!knox-brewerThe safe contained items including jewelry, a notebook and a checkbook. The Brewers contacted police and soon discovered the safe had been stolen from a neighbor’s home eight years earlier.  Some items still remained in the safe … perhaps the thieves were in too big a hurry to clean it all out.

As for Knox … he’s ready to throw his line back into the water and see what comes up next!


Sports teams have apparently been putting cardboard cutouts, mannequins and other things in the stands to make it at least appear that there is an audience at their games, even if that audience is notably still and unenthusiastic.

FC Seoul, a South Korean soccer team, used mannequins to fill the seats during a recent game, but they had a bit of proverbial egg on their faces when fans called in to point out that the faux-fans in the stands appeared to be sex dolls.  Some observers said the banners held by the dummies appeared to reference adult websites. Oopsie.sex-dollsThe team said there was apparently a “misunderstanding” with the supplier, who the post said had assured officials the dolls were not intended for “sexual use.” FC Seoul said the dolls were intended to compensate for the lack of fans in the stands amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our intention was to do something light-hearted in these difficult times. We will think hard about what we need to do to ensure that something like this never happens again.”


And on that note, how ‘bout a few fun ‘toons ‘n memes?

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5toon-6toon-7toon-8toon-9

meme-1meme-2meme-3meme-4meme-5meme-6


And last but not least, a cute animal video to warm your heart!


I hope you found something to give you a little smile here, and that you’ll share those smiles with anyone you happen to see this week.  I find that my once-a-week trip to the grocery is always a little less stressful if someone gives me a smile in passing.  Keep safe and have a good week, my friends.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly and Joyful!

This one’s for you, Hugh Curtler!

Saturday Surprise — Creativity!

I couldn’t decide on which of two things to do for today’s Saturday Surprise:  balloons or sand.  So, I decided to give you a taste of both!


Andoni Bastarrika discovered his talent ten years ago, in the summer of 2010 while at the beach with his two daughters.  He was playing around, trying to sculpt from sand a little mermaid for his girls, when he discovered he had a gift for sculpting with sand, a unique fluidity of his hands.  Says Bastarrika …

“They knew what they were doing. I devoted myself to developing this gift and have spent the last 10 years doing just that.  The sand fascinates me because no matter how you look at it, it will always teach you things if you are willing to learn. In order to create a sculpture, an unthinkable number of sand particles participate, hugging each other tightly through humidity, so that someone could model their union. And once the artist steps back, its piece will remain at the mercy of nature, meaning that sooner or later the wind will dry them up and release each particle, slowly consuming all the individuality and authenticity.”

sand-1sand-2sand-3

“The time it takes to create one piece largely depends on its size. The elephant, for example, took me 2 days, while the horse and the bison took 12 hours each. The dogs, which were smaller, needed about 6 to 8 hours.”

sand-4sand-5sand-6

“There are a lot of reasons why I like to make animal sculptures as well, but one is the fact that animals are free spirits. Humans can reflect and learn from them.”

sand-7sand-8


Now, those of you who say you’re bored these days, being confined to quarters with nothing much to do, here’s something for you to spend some time on … balloon art!  We’ve all been to a fair or street carnival where there’s a man blowing up narrow balloons and turning them into rather simplistic dogs, or other critters, but Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto has taken balloon art to a whole new level.

balloon-1balloon-2balloon-3

Like the sand artist Bastarrika, Mr. Matsumoto has been perfecting his craft for about ten years now.

“My creations are one hundred percent balloon-only. I don’t use any adhesive, marker pens, or anything else.”

balloon-4balloon-5

“A lot of my work revolves around nature because I’ve been fascinated with it since I was very young.”

balloon-6balloon-7balloon-8

Matsumoto says his sculptures aren’t products of spontaneity; they’re the offspring of careful and deliberate planning. Once he’s done designing a particular piece, Matsumoto usually spends 2-5 hours blowing and twisting the balloons.

balloon-9balloon-10

Okay, folks, get some balloons and let’s see what you can do!  I’ll feature any and all pictures that you guys send me … c’mon … you can do it!


Okay, friends, time for you to get to those weekend chores … mowing the yard, and after all of last week’s rain, the gutters probably need cleaning!  Whatever you do this weekend, keep safe and find time to enjoy life.

Still More Snarky Snippets …

In rather a grand funk this evening, I’ve concluded that letting off a bit of snark would be the best way to return to my normally sweet, joyous self.  Yeah, okay, I haven’t been either sweet or joyous in decades, but at least I don’t normally threaten to chop all the fingers off my hand because it made a typo.  When it comes to that point, it’s time to let off some steam.


Twitter allows manic bullies, but not those who would say “bimbo”

Twitter is not, nor should it be, the official venue for presidential communiques.  Given that I was briefly banned from Twitter a couple of months ago for calling one of the Fox News bimbos a ‘bimbo’, it seems a no-brainer that a ‘man’ who tells lies, threatens, bullies, falsely accuses, incites violence, and curses people on Twitter should be permanently banned.  Instead, he is given carte blanche to write as many threatening falsehoods as he can dream up in a day.  A double standard?  Very much so.

twitter-birdTrump’s latest is an unfounded and erroneous campaign against journalist Joe Scarborough.  In 2001, when Scarborough was a Republican U.S. representative from Florida, a female staffer died after she passed out due to an undiagnosed heart condition and hit her head on a desk.  Scarborough was not even in the building at the time, police investigated and there was no sign of any foul play.  However, all of a sudden Trump decides to call on police to open an investigation, accusing Scarborough of murder.  No evidence, no reason, no justification … just Trump attempting to find yet another way to distract the public from his many crimes and from the increasing death toll that is a result of his horrible bungling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter, Facebook and the like were initially intended to be “social media” outlets, places were friends and families could connect, keep up with the latest, send messages and pictures, etc.  Now, all have become political venues where crooked, dirty politicians lie and promote their own agenda.  Twitter finds the appropriately-used word ‘bimbo’ offensive, but allows people to basically call for the lynching of another?  Great job, Mr. Dorsey.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, by the way, has a net worth of some $4.7 billion … I guess pandering to the corrupt pays off, eh?  I think perhaps the time has come for us to hold Twitter accountable … demand they ban Trump, for his words are likely to incite trouble among those of his followers who are not thinkers, but rather … followers.


McSally is … going … going …

I had to laugh when I read that republican advisors are warning that Martha McSally has fallen dangerously behind in the polls to keep her seat in the U.S. Senate – a seat, by the way, that was not earned via election, for she lost the election in her home state of Arizona, but was appointed by the Governor of Arizona to fill the seat left vacant by the late, Honourable Senator John McCain.  McSally has never been able to fill McCain’s shoes, and stands, in my book, zero chance of holding the seat after the November election.

mcsally

That mask itself is reason enough to oust her … that would scare even the heartiest among us!

Some of McSally’s views …

  • She wishes to de-fund Planned Parenthood, thereby robbing many in the lower income brackets the right to affordable health care, and she is all for denying contraceptives to those same people in lower income brackets. I guess she thinks more babies starving will make the world a better place?
  • She opposes same-sex marriage.
  • She opposes public education, instead being like Betsy DeVos and supports using public education money to provide vouchers for wealthy parents to send their children to private and religious schools. She is also in favour of cutting Pell Grants, the only way some of us have to get through college (yours truly was only able to earn a B.A. through Pell Grants), and opposes refinancing of student loans.
  • She fully supports the fossil fuel industry and opposes the Clean Power Plan to promote renewable energy sources.
  • She opposes any restrictions on guns.
  • She would repeal ACA and opposes any efforts to ensure health care for all.

There’s more, but this should be enough to prove why McSally has no business sitting in the U.S. Congress, yes?  Frankly, I’m not even sure at this point that she has any business taking up space on the planet.  Eat your hearts out, Republicans … McSally will go down in flames as Mark Kelly, a far more noble example of the human species, takes her seat in the Senate (hopefully after disinfecting it).


Return to the Cold War?

Donald Trump lived through the Cold War, same as I did.  But, apparently he was too busy partying with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein, grabbing women by the … ahem … and learning how to be the biggest arsehole on the planet to pay much attention to such things as nuclear proliferation and the threat of a nuclear war.

Yesterday, Trump announced his plans to renege on yet another international treaty, the Treaty on Open Skies.  This treaty was signed by then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker under President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and aimed to build trust and reduce the risk of war through unarmed aerial surveillance over territories of all 30+ participants.

As usual, with no evidence whatsoever, Trump claims that his buddy Putin has failed to ‘adhere’ to the treaty, so Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the treaty that has successfully reduced the chances of an accidental nuclear incident for more than 30 years now.  No evidence, no real reason … just that Trump does not like any sort of multinational agreement … he wishes the U.S. to be alone and vulnerable, believing that “only I” can solve all the problems.

I think that once we emerge from this dark period I call the Reign of Trump, perhaps it is time for us to consider making some changes to Article II of the U.S. Constitution, specifying the limits on the authority of the president more clearly.  There is no way that the president should be able to enter into or pull out of international agreements and treaties without the approval of Congress.  It should not be the decision of a single person, just as the hiring and firing of the people who are to oversee the executive branch should not be the decision of the president alone.  I think we have seen in the past three years how the loopholes in the Constitution can lead to an extreme abuse of the powers of the office.


toon-GOPtoon-Trump-election

Meanderings Of Filosofa’s Mind

Today I am feeling introspective, philosophical.  Perhaps it is because my workspace is temporarily at the kitchen table, directly in front of the kitchen window until my new chair and laptop desk arrive sometime next week.  As I glance outside the window, I see the birds, pecking at the feed my darling neighbor, Maha, has put down for them, and I see the children … one kicking a ball, another attempting to fly a kite, while yet another is taking some of his very first steps under his mother’s watchful eye. Life is happening … the nation’s shut down has not stopped that, nor has the coronavirus, nor has the person in the Oval Office, nor have those who support him.  My flowers are blooming … well, some of them, anyway … a few bees are seen hovering, and even a hummingbird!  And so, Filosofa’s mind begins to wander …

I think about all those people screeching for the economy to re-open, for shops, restaurants and bars to be once again open so that they can spend what little money they may have there.  And then I look at the birdies and I wonder … in the grand scheme of things, do the shops really matter?  Do you really need a new pair of jeans or a dress or new toaster oven?  Will you be happier or healthier in the long run if you dine out tonight, and hit the bars tomorrow night?  For some, no doubt, the answer to that question is ‘yes’ … I am glad I am not one of them.

I never enjoyed shops and malls anyway, and I am definitely not a bar person.  I did always enjoy our Saturday afternoon meals at a favourite local casual restaurant, and then a trip to Barnes & Noble afterward, but frankly, I’m finding that I have adapted, that my life is no less rich without that, and my bank account has grown considerably without our weekend spending!

On May 27th, another space shuttle of sorts will transport two U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).  I wonder why?  After all, it isn’t as if it matters to most of us, it is historic only in the sense that it is an outside craft, not a NASA-built craft, but rather one created by Elon Musk’s company, that will transport the astronauts.  It really isn’t important … so many things have been postponed, have ground to a halt, including the education of our children … that IS important … that I wonder why this launch continues as planned.  Probably an ego trip for Trump & Musk.  Ah well, it matters not to me, for there are far more important things for me to focus my attention on.

I’ve largely ignored the efforts by Trump & Co to distract our attention to his circus acts of blaming everyone but Thomas Jefferson for his own failures and shortcomings, but some things cannot be ignored, such as his systematic purge of people in the administration who would hold him accountable for his actions.  He is, in essence, creating a ring of protection around himself, giving himself powers that no president was ever intended to have.  I worry about what’s next on his agenda.  Is not that a far more important concern than heading to the local mall, or sending a couple more men into space?

Look out the window … better yet, step outside.  Look, really look at the birds, the trees, the flowers … would you really rather be at a mall packed full of people, choking on the smell of 100 different varieties of tacky perfume, ogling things that you neither need nor really even want?  What’s really important to you?  Is it more important that you can go ‘do stuff’, or that you are still alive to appreciate the beauty of nature?  Do you really care if planes are flying again right now, or thousands of cars are clogging the highways at rush hour?

Yes, I do realize most have jobs they need to get back to, that the mortgage is coming due, groceries must be bought and paid for, the kids need braces and those aren’t cheap.  I realize the economy of the nation is important.  But is it more important than ensuring that our government is looking out for the people of this country … all the people, not just the wealthy?  Is it more important than ensuring that we still have a voice in our government?  Those who eagerly seek a “return to normal” will be sorely disappointed, for I suspect it will not happen any time soon, if ever.  In mid-March, I cared … now, I hope that we find a new ‘normal’, one where people matter more than ‘things’.

But, aside from all that … are you really so eager to return to the battlefield, knowing that many more will yet die?  Nothing has changed since March.  There still is no cure.  The virus is still just as contagious as it was two months ago.  We still have over 1,000 new deaths per day in the U.S.  Human beings.  Mothers, fathers, children, grandparents … people, not merely statistics.  Do you really care if the U.S. has two new astronauts on the ISS right now?  Wouldn’t next year be just as good?  There is no ‘race for space’, no reason for one.  Money down the tubes that frankly could be put to MUCH better use this year, helping the people who are suffering, keeping the nation safe.

As I write this, two young boys walk past my patio, see me in the window, and they give me big smiles and wave as if I were an old friend.  The birdies are pecking away at their food.  The neighbor’s dog is fertilizing the grass in my yard.  And despite all that is wrong in the world right now, I find a reason to smile.

Letter to Members of Congress

This is the letter I wrote yesterday to my two senators, Senator Rob Portman, a republican and Senator Sherrod Brown, a democrat, and my single useless Representative, Warren Davidson, a republican and member of the ignoble House Freedom Caucus.  I sent the letter via regular USPS mail, as I did not wish it to become lost in the tens of thousands of emails they receive daily.  I am angry with the entire lot of them, democrats and republicans, members of the House and Senate.  They are wasting time when there is important work to be done and they are allowing Donald Trump free rein to do exactly as he pleases … quite often abusing the limitations on the power of his office.


Dear Senator/Representative ___________________,

As a taxpayer, a voter, and a citizen of this country, I am beyond disappointed in the job Congress has done and is doing.  It matters not to me if you are a Republican or a Democrat … you are an elected official who swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, to do your job with the best interests of the country and its people as your goal.  Congress as a whole has let We the People down in so many ways that I’ve lost count.

Per the aforementioned Constitution, it is the duty of Congress to oversee the executive branch, ie the president, and in this, you are failing miserably.  By ‘you’, I mean the body as a whole, but each member must share responsibility for allowing the many atrocities that are being forced upon the people of this nation.  I have a few questions I would like answered:

    • Why is Donald Trump being allowed to fire the Inspectors General who are tasked with overseeing the various departments and agencies within the federal government? It is rather like allowing a child to fire its nanny!
    • Why is he being allowed to continue his false accusations against such honourable people as President Barack Obama, Vice President and candidate Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and others? These are merely a smoke screen intended to distract the public, and Congress, from the real issues at hand.
    • Why is he being allowed to threaten to cut off federal funding to states that adopt absentee and mail-in voting this year in order to make voting safe for everyone?  This is not within the bounds of his authority, yet who will stop him, if not Congress?
    • Why is Congress so divided along party lines that literally nothing of value is being accomplished, yet you are all taking your monthly pay?  Can you not set aside your differences to act in the best interest of the nation at this, a time of genuine crisis?  Is the power of your position more important to you than our lives?
    • Why did you so easily give up your oversight function regarding the last stimulus bill, such that the money was grossly misspent?  Small businesses received little, and corporations with ties to Trump and his cronies received money to which they had no right.

Today I read that Donald Trump is threatening states that are planning to use absentee and mail-in ballots in the upcoming November election.  This is an obvious ploy to disenfranchise many voters of both parties.  Do you plan to continue sitting on your haunches and allow him to get by with this?  He claims he will withhold federal funding from those states that plan to allow mail-in ballots … you CAN stop him from doing this, but will you?

Thus far, he has pulled this country out of critical international agreements, such as the Paris Accords and the Iran nuclear deal, and now he has ceased critical funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), which he is threatening to make a permanent cessation.  Will you truly allow this?  It is not within his power to do so, unless you simply sit back and do nothing to stop it.

As I said, I do not care what your party affiliation is … I myself am an independent who has voted at various times for people in both parties.  But, I DO care whether our elected officials, people whose salaries we pay with our hard-earned tax dollars, are doing their jobs, and it appears today that most of them are not.  Most seem to be more concerned with collecting their campaign donations from the NRA and corporations, rather than protecting the people of this nation.

I write this letter in hopes of opening your eyes to the fact that things need to change, and they need to change NOW.  You need to understand that the madman in the Oval Office is NOT your employer … We the People are!  You need to open your eyes and engage your brain and see what is in front of those eyes … a corrupt and evil person who has aspirations far beyond what the office of president allows.  I hope that you will take my concerns to the floor of Congress, allow me to have a voice, and that you and your peers will act to stop this runaway train before it dooms us all to life under a dictatorship.

Sincerely,

Jill E Dennison, voter & taxpayer

Good People Doing Good Things — In Times Of Trouble

This week’s ‘good people’ post is just a bit late, but hopefully worth the wait.


The trash man watcheth …

We don’t give much thought to our trash collectors, or binmen … they come once or twice a week, pick up the trash, and that’s that.  They likely don’t give much thought to us, either.  Unless, of course, they are Jake Bland at Hometown Hauling, a refuse collection company in Louisville, Kentucky.Jake-BlandOne day last week, Jake noticed that one house on his route hadn’t put out any trash for the past two weeks, so he asked the company’s dispatcher to call the customer.  The dispatcher, fearing the worst, was relieved when the 90-year-old customer answered the phone, but that relief quickly dissipated when she found out why there had been no trash for two weeks:  the woman had no trash because she had run out of food ten days before!

Said the dispatcher, Bernice Arthur …

“She just didn’t have nothing to eat….and that’s why she had no trash to put out there.  She has no family, nobody.  I said, ‘You do have a family now.’

BerniceAnd indeed, the folks at Hometown Hauling jumped in and became family for the elderly woman, known only as Mrs. W.  They compiled a list, went shopping and brought Mrs. W. enough groceries to last for quite a while.  Money was not Mrs. W’s problem, but logistics were.  She does not drive and was afraid to take a bus in this era of coronavirus.  Nonetheless, the crew at Hometown Hauling paid for the food and it was their gift to Mrs. W.  I’m pretty sure that Jake and Bernice will be keeping check on Mrs. W. for the foreseeable future.

Thumbs up to all those who participated in this venture, for without them, Mrs. W. would likely be dead by now.


Little people doing BIG things …

More than two years ago, I wrote about a young man, Jahkil Jackson, who had come to my attention because of his good works that started when he was about 8 years old and started his non-profit, Project, I Am.  He had begun making “Blessing Bags” — kits full of socks, toiletries and snacks that he could offer to the homeless in his hometown of Chicago.  Jahkil-1Young Jahkil, now 12-years-old, has floated onto my radar again this week when, in the ever-growing dark shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, he expanded his project to include yet another vulnerable population — senior citizens — in his hometown.

“I don’t think it’s safe for anybody to go outside right now.  So, I decided to give them the daily essentials like hand sanitizer, which is very important, wipes, tissue. I feel like those really help them. I’m doing my part and helping. And I feel like it’s everyone’s duty to help out where they can.  Everybody in the world, they’re scared, they’re worried. So, we have to work together to uplift each other.”

I repeat what I said two years ago when I first discovered young Jahkil … what an awesome young man!  But wait … I’m not finished, for young Jahkil has teamed up with a young man in Gaithersburg, Maryland, 7-year-old Cavanaugh Bell.  Age … distance???  Pshaw … just another hurdle to overcome!Cavanaugh-BellWhen the pandemic hit, Cavanaugh and his mom went grocery shopping for his 74-year-old grandmother, who lives in a nearby senior living community. Cavanaugh couldn’t help but also worry about his grandmother’s friends. He wondered whether they were getting all the food and other essentials they needed.

“I just wanted to make sure that they were staying home, and they were staying safe. My grandma is my best friend. We all love our senior citizens and they mean more to us than anything else. I just decided to do something nice for them.”

So, Cavanaugh used his $600 in savings to purchase food and supplies to take to the other seniors. Word spread, and he started receiving donations to help his mission. To date, his GoFundMe page has raised more than $12,000.

Now, Cavanaugh has opened a community pantry for families in need to pick up care packages filled with food and other necessary household items. Recently, Cavanaugh and Jahkil connected about their mutual cause and how they could team up to get their care packages into the hands of even more people.

For starters, Jahkil assembled and sent 50 of his blessing bags to Cavanaugh, who simultaneously sent packages of food items and other supplies to Jahkil.  Jahkil used the donations from Cavanaugh to make more blessing bags — helping him reach more seniors and homeless people. Cavanaugh distributed Jahkil’s blessing bags to those in need through his community pantry.

“I think it’s important for us young kids to work together because kids are very powerful and they can make change, too,” said Jahkil, who plans to coordinate efforts with more young do-gooders throughout the country.

“Anyone can have an impact no matter their age, no matter if they’re older or they’re young. Because whatever you believe you can achieve,” Cavanaugh said. “With love we can get through this together.”

Now, obviously these two young men have a bit of help from their families, but that’s part of the point. Jahkil’s and Cavanaugh’s parents are teaching these guys at a very young age how to be good people, that we all have a responsibility to help others in times of need.  Just as we tend to blame parents when young people get in trouble, I think we must also applaud parents like those of these two youngsters, for they are teaching their children well.  These kids and others like them are the future of our country, a future that may be a bit brighter for having these two and others like them.

 

Wearing a Mask in Public-Liberal Snowflake?

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters ponders about our society, how we are responding to the current crisis, and how Trump is further stretching the Great Divide that led to his unconscionable election three+ years ago. I can especially relate to his last sentence … I no longer recognize the country I once respected. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

These days everything is up for grabs. In today’s hyper-sensitive political climate, it doesn’t seem to matter. One would think that if you’re told to wear a mask in public to protect you and the people around you from possibly contracting a dangerous virus, it would be a no brainer to wear the mask.

But these are not normal times if you didn’t know that already. We have an abnormal president with a group of followers whose main goal in life now is to “own the libs” at all costs–no matter the consequences.

And it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the mask issue is only the beginning. What we’re seeing is the political strategy of the current president becoming more evident by the day. And if the Democrats aren’t up to the task to counter-punch, we may be in for a sad day on November 3, 2020.

As we all know…

View original post 951 more words