Keep Your Eye On The … ?????

There is very little news today that doesn’t carry the name ‘Trump’.  It makes it very difficult to concentrate, to focus, to find anything ELSE in the news! Trump had a very busy week firing people last week, spent most of the weekend spewing garbage through his tweeting thumbs, and put down virtually every individual or group he could think of who wasn’t 100% in his camp.  Let us recap …

He fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, basically for two reasons: 1) last year Tillerson astutely called Trump a ‘moron’, and 2) Tillerson spoke out against Russia, saying that a nerve agent used on a former Russian spy in Britain last week “clearly came from Russia”, and that Russia is “an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.”  The moral of this story:  Never speak the truth if you work for a liar.

He fired Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, basically for three reasons:  1) when Trump asked McCabe who he voted for in 2016, McCabe said he did not vote; 2) McCabe’s wife ran for State Senate in Virginia in 2015 and as part of her campaign funding received funds from a group affiliated with former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who happens to be a friend of Hillary Clinton; 3) McCabe was involved in the Russian/Trump investigation from the start, and Trump hopes his firing will discredit McGabe’s ultimate testimony.  No obstruction of justice here, right?

One of Trump’s many attorneys (he just hired another yesterday) called for Rod Rosenstein to end the Russian investigation, prompting many to fear that there would be an effort to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump went on a tweetstorm the entire weekend, thrashing James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and most of all, Robert Mueller.  He referred, as he has many times before, to the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and claimed the team was heavily partisan (Mueller himself is a republican – there goes that argument, Donnie-boy).  And of course, he couldn’t have a proper tweet-storm without blaming Hillary Clinton, so he did.

And then there was Cambridge Analytica, which I am not even going to tackle this evening, other than to mention that it is a whole new section of the spiderweb that ought to bring about the downfall of the regime!  But it won’t.

It’s old, folks.  Even though he was obviously on a triple dose of steroids last week and over the weekend, he keeps singing the same ol’ song, and it isn’t even a pretty song.  It’s got no rhythm, just a convolution of percussion sounds that eventually wear on the eardrums as well as the psyche.

Oh … and in case you missed it …

Y’know what else is getting old?  Another impending government shutdown is scheduled to take place at midnight on Friday if our illustrious Congress doesn’t get their collective butts in gear and pass a spending bill.  Yawn.  I could write this script, but I’ll let you remain in suspense for the next few days.  Meanwhile, let’s chat for just a minute about that spending bill.

The spending bill is for a massive $1.3 trillion.  Let me show you $1,300,000,000,000.  I am unclear where that money is going to come from, since they reduced revenues by cutting taxes on all those who could actually afford to pay taxes!  Since the bill is bouncing around in the House at the moment, I do not know all of the provisions, but here is part of what I do know.

It includes $80 billion in new military spending and $63 billion in domestic spending (anybody see a problem with that ratio?). Democrats and republicans are still arguing over whether it should include funding for Planned Parenthood.  It is likely to expand the right to conceal carry across state borders.  It will not include monies for the long-planned railway under the Hudson River, mainly because Trump said he would veto any bill that included it.  It is not likely to include ACA (Obamacare) subsidies.  It is unlikely to contain a much-needed overhaul of sexual harassment policies.  It will almost certainly re-authorize CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) for six years.  $1.6 billion for Trump’s damn border wall is still under discussion in the House.

And that’s just about all any outside of Congress seem to know for the moment.  The House must vote on it, then send it to the Senate, where they will debate and likely disagree with at least some portion, then it will go back to the House, back to the Senate, and then everybody has to be in full agreement in a final vote by midnight Friday night.  Mitch McConnell and other congressional leaders seem fairly confident, but … after the last few fiascos??? I’m not.  Funny, isn’t it, how little attention the spending bill has had in the media the last several days.

Oh, and another thing you may have missed …

Sexual predator Harvey Weinstein’s company has filed for bankruptcy AND, more importantly, has cancelled all non-disclosure agreements.  This means that company employees are now free to tell of any form of sexual misconduct they have witnessed while employed by the company.  Score one for justice!

One final tidbit …

Vladimir Putin won the election in Russia and will serve {yawn} another six years.  Are we surprised?  Not when he disqualified his chief contender!  Look for him to abolish elections in Russia before 2024, as there is already talk of it.

I would like to see somebody stifle Trump’s urges to rant and rail at everything and everyone.  Apparently all the adults in the White House were on hiatus over the weekend. It is painfully obvious to those of us who think at least a few hours a day that Trump has much to hide, much to fear from the results of Mueller’s investigation, for he is acting as guilty as the kid with chocolate all over his mouth saying, “Who me?  I didn’t eat no cookies …”  There is danger in his unhinged state, but it would be a mistake for us to focus exclusively on his child-like antics and take our eyes off the ball.  I fear that is what the media is doing, and it is certainly an easy trap to fall into.  Stay tuned and I will tell you all about his new lawyer … how the heck many lawyers does one man need, anyway?

Bits ‘n Pieces For A Snowy March Afternoon …

Today I felt like doing a few bits ‘n pieces rather than a longer post.  I think it’s a sign of an uncontrolled mind that every idea for a full post held little appeal to me, but I seized on a few headlines that crossed my screen.

The headline on the BBC site caught my eye …

Man Electrified By Judge Gets New Trial

Surely, I thought, they don’t mean ‘electrified’ as in … electrified?  So, of course, I clicked on the story.  And yes, dear friends, they did mean electrified … as in … electrified, fried.

It happened in Texas to a man named Terry Lee Morris, who stood accused of “soliciting sexual performance from a child” … a heinous crime, to be sure, but still, there are limits and laws about electrifying people in a court of law.  Remember that part about “innocent until proven guilty”?  It turns out that the ‘stun belts’ such as the one used to zap Mr. Morris, are often used in courtrooms in Texas.  They are affixed around the legs or midsection of a suspect in court and are used to deliver a shock to the person should they become violent.

Judge George Gallagher took the concept one step further and ordered the bailiff to deliver a charge of electricity each time Mr. Morris did not, in the eyes of the judge, “answer a question properly”.  Not once, but three times Judge Gallagher ordered the shocking of Mr. Morris.  Morris was found guilty of one count of soliciting sexual performance from a child and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.  Both the conviction and the sentence are likely fair, but the trial was anything but fair.

Last month, the appeals court ruled that Mr. Morris’ shocks and removal from the court was a violation of his constitutional right to be present and confront witnesses during his trial, and a new trial has been ordered.  In part, the 42-page decision  reads:

“Because the trial transcript clearly shows that the trial judge, during a heated exchanged [sic] with the defendant outside the presence of the jury, ordered his bailiff to electrocute the defendant three times with a stun belt – not for legitimate security purposes, but solely as a show of the court’s power as the defendant asked the court to stop “torturing” him – we harbor grave doubts as to whether Morris’ [trial] comported with basic constitutional mandates.  As such, we have no choice but to overturn Morris’ conviction and remand for a new trial.”

The decision went on to clarify that no Texas judges are allowed to shock defendants for refusing to follow the court’s rules of decorum.

“Never before have we seen any behaviour like this, nor do we hope to ever see such behaviour again. We must speak out against it, lest we allow practices like these to affront the very dignity of the proceedings we seek to protect and lead our courts to drift from justice into barbarism.”

For now, at least, no disciplinary action has been taken against Judge Gallagher and he is still a judge.Those of you in Europe who are feeling like you’re always running a bit behind … take heart … it is not your imagination, but you truly are running behind … by about six minutes, in fact!  The culprit?  A dispute between Kosovo and Serbia!  No, I swear I am not making this up!

Kosovo and Serbia, enemies since the war in the 1990s, share responsibility for a power grid that serves much of the European continent.  Since mid-January, Kosovo has been using more power than it has been generating.  Serbia was supposed to balance the grid, but failed to do so.  The result?  The European network’s frequency had deviated from its standard of 50 Hertz (Hz) to 49.996 Hz since mid-January, resulting in 113 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of lost energy.  The end result to consumers is a lag of approximately six minutes on electric clocks that are driven by the frequency of the power system, rather than by a quartz crystal.

We are told that the balance has been restored, but that it may take several weeks before clocks in Europe catch up with the rest of the world.  Just imagine the possibilities here.  People fired from their jobs for being 6 minutes late, burnt meals.  “I’m sorry sir, but we gave your new heart to another patient because you showed up six minutes late for your surgery.”  Cows being milked late, chickens fed late … a crisis in the agricultural world as the animals are unable to adapt to being off their schedules!  So many possibilities it boggles the mind.And finally, if you needed something else to worry about …China’s Tiangong-1 space station will crash to Earth within weeks

Experts say it is impossible to plot where module will re-enter the atmosphere, but the chance is higher in parts of Europe, US, Australia and New Zealand – The Guardian, 05 March 2018

“China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will hit.

The US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere during the first week of April, give or take a week. The European Space Agency says the module will come down between 24 March and 19 April.

In 2016 China admitted it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry.”

But not to worry, friends.  They say only very small pieces of debris will survive re-entry and hit the earth.  According to the article:

“When considering the worst-case location … the probability that a specific person (ie, you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.”

Well, I’m comforted, for I haven’t had much luck winning the Powerball. Oddly, even if I thought the odds were better than even of my being struck by falling space debris, I wouldn’t worry … after all, this is the Trumpian Era … what else could possibly be worse?



A Few Features From Filosofa on Friday

Mind bounce.  It is a distraction when my mind will not settle in and focus on one thing, but insists on bonking and blipping all over the place, rather like a ping pong ball on speed!  Mind bounce is a terrible thing to waste.  And so, today I simply let it bounce wherever it wished, and here is what we came up with.

seperator 2

Hats Off To Our Friends To The North …

No doubt about it, Canada has class. First off, they have Justin Trudeau, while we have … well, you know.  But what prompted this statement was the Pride House hosted by our friends to the North while at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.  It is the first Pride House in the world to be embraced by a national Olympic Committee, and Canada deserves a two thumbs-up for this show of inclusion.

PrideThe idea for this Pride House, organized in collaboration with South Korean activists, is based on the tradition of Olympic delegations opening hospitality houses to showcase their home nations’ culture and history and welcome fans. Rather than focusing on a particular nationality or team, the Pride House welcomes all.

“The mission of Pride House, is to create a place where people can go and watch games, and hang out and eat food and all that — sort of experience the games in a safe and welcoming way.”

The welcome sign at the entrance to the Pride House reads …

“This is your house no matter who you are or where you come from. You are at home, regardless of your sex, sexual orientation, race, marital or family status, gender identity or expression, sex characteristics, creed, age, color, disability, political or religious belief. Be proud. Be you. Be Olympic!”

Excuse me … all you people in the U.S. who are worried about what bathroom others use?  All you people in the U.S. who claim that marriage must be only between one man and one woman in order to be legitimate?  Listen up … go back and re-read that welcome sign again … and again … and again until you understand what it is saying.  It is saying that everyone … EVERYONE … is welcome here.  Get that?

pride-2.pngHats off to Canada and Canadians!  We here in the U.S. need some lessons from you guys … and I ask one more time … could we trade you-know-who for your Mr. Trudeau???  I’ll throw in some extras, like Kellyanne and Sarah!

Too Little, Too Late, Ronald McDonald!

The headline read …

McDonald’s Commits To More Balanced Happy Meals By 2022

McDonald’s announced its goal to market more balanced kids meals around the globe.  And … they are going to do this marvelous thing in just over four years!  Let us all give them a round of applause … NOT!

happy mealThe company says by the end of 2022, at least 50 percent or more of the kids meal options listed on menus will meet new global Happy Meal nutrition criteria: Meals will have 600 calories or less; no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat; no more than 650 mg sodium; and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar.

obese fat boy child eat chicken cheese hamburgerNow, I hate to tell you this, Ronald McDonald, but those standards aren’t going to earn you any applause from those of us who really do try to eat healthy.  650 mg sodium???  You have got to be kidding me!  I get less sodium from the dish of pretzels I just ate!  And 600 calories???  That is more than half of what I consume in a given day!

And could somebody explain to me why it takes over four years to make healthier food???  I do it every day, for Pete’s sake!

Let’s look at one of the things they plan to do:

According to the article I read in NPR  “they will downsize the size of the fries served with the six-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meal. Currently it comes with a standard small fry, but going forward this will change to a smaller kiddie size.”  Two points here:  1) why does it take four years or more to just put a few less fries in the meal?  It isn’t rocket science, folks!; 2) will they also reduce the price based on having fewer fries in the meal?  No sir, I’m betting that if anything, the price will rise, as they had to hire some analyst to come in and tell them just how many fries constitute a ‘healthier’ meal!

ronald mcdonaldThe real problem, I suspect, is that U.S. parents don’t want healthier Happy Meals.  Remember when First Lady Michelle Obama tried to implement healthier choices in school lunches?  You would have thought she was proposing to put poisoned apples in every child’s lunch, the way parents went berserk!  Nope, U.S. mums really like shoving all that fat, salt and sugar down their kids’ gullets, and then saying, “Oh look how little Johnny has grown!”  Yeah, outward.

Give me the job, and I can make those Happy Meals both healthier and tastier within one month … not the 46-month goal set by the corporate powers-that-be. Nice try, Ronald, but no thumbs-up for you, no hats off, no round of applause.  Too little, too late.

 Downloadable WHAT???

Another eye-catching headline …

The Defense Dept. Is Researching How To Download Skills To Our Brain

DARPA, [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], the research arm of the Pentagon, is investigating ways to download skills directly into the human brain, similar to how a computer downloads a program from the internet.

For instance, imagine downloading a foreign language and then being able to speak that same language immediately, with a proper dialect and native delivery. This would be a major leap forward in education.

brain-computerOkay, now I can see where this could come in very handy, but … no.  Just no.  This is too much.  You can read more about it here … it makes for interesting reading, but … count me out.

seperator 2

And thus wraps up the snippets from this bouncing mind, and I will now go mop some floors while you go read some saner blog posts!  Have a great weekend, my friends!

bounce ball

What’s In A Headline?

As freelancers and bloggers, we know the importance of a title, or a headline.  It has to grab the reader, for there are thousands and thousands of blogs and OpEds  out there, and if we don’t grab the reader with the title, the content of our writing won’t likely matter.  It is the same for the mainstream media … the headline is the bait and it has to be interesting.  What headlines grabbed your attention yesterday enough to make you read the attached article?  Here are three that grabbed me …

The headline in The Guardian piqued my curiosity:

Reality bites: Trump’s fear of sharks leads to surge in charity donations

I did not pay much attention recently to the details of the report that Trump had paid $130,000 to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, for I have become immune to his debauchery. So I was not aware that Ms. Daniels had told the world that Trump is deathly afraid of sharks.  Well, even if I had known that, it wouldn’t have likely set my meter ticking, for most of us would just as soon avoid an encounter with a shark.  Apparently Trump himself had confirmed Ms. Daniels’ allegation back in 2013 when he tweeted …

“Sorry folks, I’m just not a fan of sharks – and don’t worry, they will be around long after we are gone.” – 9:26 AM – Jul 4, 2013

sharkMs. Daniels said that Trump used to spend time watching television shows about sharks and that “He is obsessed with sharks …Terrified of sharks.”  He reportedly commented, “I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.” It turns out that after the interview with Ms. Daniels was published in a gossip rag, In Touch magazine, people started sending donations in Trump’s name to Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

For some reason, I am finding this hysterically funny.  Whatever it takes to get people helping the environment and the critters that live in it, I guess.  Hey!  I wonder … if I could annoy Trump badly enough for him to say he hated me and wished me dead, do you think people would start sending me money?

And then another headline, this one in The Intellectualist, came onto the trusty radar and made me literally choke on my soup …

72% Of Republicans Believe Trump Is A Good Role Model For Children

Say WHAT???  Sure, if you want your children to grow up to be profane, ignorant, bigoted, narcissistic, megalomaniacs.  But what is behind this story?  Are republicans really so ignorant?

“According to a recent Quinnipiac poll  , a whopping 72 percent of Republicans think President Donald Trump is a good role model for children. By comparison, 67 percent of all Americans say he is not.”

Wait just a minute … TIME OUT!  73% plus 67% … tick, tap, tickety-tappity … I come up with 140%!  Weren’t we taught in school something about there only being 100%?  I’m only a CPA, so my math skills aren’t very good, but still …

Trump with babies

These babies look real happy, huh?

A visit to Quinnipiac’s site clarified matters.  While 72%-73% of republicans believe he is a good role model, overall, when you consider all Americans, only about 1/3 feel he is a good role model.  Even that amazes me, though.  Frankly, I would not let him near my dog, let alone my child or grandchild.

Some interesting tidbits from the survey …

  • 63% of Americans say Trump does not provide the U.S. with moral leadership. (Why only 63%  Where are the other 37% … drugged, sleeping, or left the country in disgust?)
  • As expected, the majority of Republicans disagree: 80% say he does provide moral leadership. (Yes, but look who we’re talking about here … the ones who believe a pedophile belongs in the Senate, and a sexual molestor belongs in the White House!)
  • 27% of Americans say they are proud to have Trump as president, but 53% are downright embarrassed. (27% are proud to be white, figure everyone who isn’t white needs to be deported, and still believe in the institution of slavery. But where are the other 20%??? Still sleeping?)

And lastly, there was this one, also from The Intellectualist

Missouri Lawmaker Seeks To Ban Marriages That Don’t Occur In Church

“State Rep. T.J. Berry put forth House Bill 1434 to put religions entirely in control of defining “marriage” and conducting those ceremonies. If you decide to get married without being a church member, you would be considered part of a “domestic union….

[Berry said] he was “tired” of the argument about the definition of the word marriage. He wanted the issue “put to rest from a government standpoint.”

T J BerryI am not concerned that Berry’s bill will pass, for even in the highly unlikely event that it did, I see it working its way quickly to the U.S. Supreme Court where, in spite of Gorsuch, it would be struck down, for it is blatantly un-Constitutional.  But what does concern me is that my blood pressure is now through the roof, my stomach is churning, heart rate three times the norm, and I am growling deep in my throat much like a rabid dog.


I am going to bed now.  Good-night, my friends.


Da ‘Tuga

Snippets … I’ve Got Snippets!

Since it is cold, snowing, and my morning was taken up by other things, today I have just a few snippets that caught my eye in my daily ambling through muck and mire that we call news.

It’s not my fault …

Remember a few days ago when I wrote about U.S. representative from Pennsylvania, Patrick Meehan, who was on the House Ethics Committee, but who had sexually harassed an aide, settled with her for an undisclosed amount of money, and then paid her from his congressional fund?  Well, today he is back in the news, and guess what?  It isn’t his fault that he sexually harassed the aide!  Not his fault at all, folks.

MeehanMeehan admitted to having attempted a relationship with the aide, and admitted that when he found out she was in a relationship after rebuffing his advances,  he acted ‘selfishly’, but he doesn’t see it as sexual misconduct, and he has an excuse … Obamacare!  He says his behaviour was due to the stress he was under from constituents during the height of the debate over a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare).

“Sometimes I have the tendency to lash out to others on the staff. And you go hardest on the ones that you care the most about.”

Meehan also confirmed that he plans to run in November.  Again, let’s hope Pennsylvanians have better sense than to vote for this jerk.

Trump can do no wrong …

Tony Perkins, president of the right-wing religious organization Family Research Council, was recently asked his opinion of the reports about Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, and his payout of $130,000 to her.  Perkins response?

tony perkins“I would not say it’s not a problem, again, this election… evangelicals did not vote for Donald Trump based on his moral qualifications, but based upon what he said he was going to do, and who he surrounded himself with. We kind of gave him — ‘All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here”

Wow … how tolerant of him.  I wonder what he had to say back when Bill Clinton had a liason with Monica Lewinsky? There really does seem to be a partisan double standard here, don’t you think?

Monsters lurking in every … text?

spy vs spyAnother republican member of Congress makes his way onto my radar today.  This time, it is Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin who, I do believe, has either had too much to drink or has been spending too many late nights reading Vince Flynn novels.

If you recall, a month or so ago, Special Counsel Robert Mueller re-assigned an FBI employee who had been assisting in his investigation into ties between the Russian election hacking and Donald Trump’s campaign staff.  The FBI employee, Peter Strzok, had sent texts to his girlfriend that were critical of Trump.  Mueller’s main reason for taking Strzok off the investigation was to preserve the integrity, so that nobody could claim Mueller’s team to be biased.

ron johnsonNow, however, not only is Senator Johnson claiming bias, but he has come up with an outright conspiracy theory and says that the FBI is plotting to overthrow Trump.  Offering no evidence to support his claim, Johnson said …

“What this is all about is further evidence of corruption — more than bias — but corruption of the highest levels of the FBI. Listen, the term secret society comes from Strzok and Page. I had heard of a group of people within the F.B.I. Holding secret offsite meetings. I was connecting the dots. And that secret society… we have an informant talking about a group that was holding secret meetings off-site. There is so much smoke here. There’s so much suspicion.”

Oh please, Mr. Johnson, go back to your vodka and your book.

The camels … they used botox???

Saudi Arabia holds an annual camel beauty contest.  Okay, a bit odd, but hey … I like camels, so I’m all for it.  But this year there is scandal among the contestants!  Twelve camels have been disqualified for using botox!!! Apparently the camel’s owners, lured by the prize money, decided to cheat and injected the camels with botulinum toxin injections to make their pouts look more alluring.

The key attributes in camel beauty are considered to be delicate ears and big nose. “They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw,” Ali al-Mazrouei, the son of an Emirati camel breeder.

And just how much was this prize?  Pretty big, actually … £3.7 million, or $5.3 million USD.  Fawzan al-Madi, the show’s lead judge, said, “The camel is a symbol of Saudi Arabia. We used to preserve it out of necessity, now we preserve it as a pastime.”

Poor camels … injections in the face, and all for nothing, not even a bit of a treat.

And so ends Filosofa’s Snippets for today.   You are now up-to-date and can return to cooking supper, shoveling snow, or playing ping-pong.

Things You May Have Missed …

For the past two weeks, the spending bill and threat of a federal government shutdown has been the front page news … and the 2nd and 3rd page news.  The other big news was whether Oprah Winfrey might one day run for president, and the allegations that Trump paid $130,000 to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, to keep her quiet about an affair.  I have repeatedly upheld the rights to a free press, and will continue to do so as long as there is breath in this body, but I do wish that our legitimate press would find a way toward better balance.  So, here are a few snippets that you may have missed in the glare of the partisan bickering and trumpeting over the past two weeks.

Not a racist???

Kansas State Representative Steve Alford is a 75-year-old white Republican. Alford was giving a speech at a public meeting earlier this month, when he was asked why Kansas had not yet legalized marijuana as other states have done.  His response?

alford“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s and when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States. What was the reason why they did that? One of the reasons why — I hate to say it — it’s the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off those drugs just because their character makeup, their genetics, and that.”

Say WHAT???

Two days and much criticism later, Alford gave a tepid apology while claiming that he is not a racist …

“I was wrong, I regret my comments, and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt.”

The fox guarding the henhouse …

U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan, a republican from Pennsylvania, is a member of the House Ethics Committee.

Ethics: moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

MeehanAs such, we would expect Mr. Meehan to abide by the highest standards, yes?  Well, don’t hold your breath, folks.  True, Patrick Meehan has been outspoken about the issue of sexual harassment in Congress, but he hasn’t exactly applied those standards to his own circumstances.  It seems that Mr. Meehan, age 62, took special interest in one of his aides who was decades younger than he.

Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter.  The aide rebuffed his overtures, and then he became ‘hostile’ toward her, according to several others in the office.  The environment became so toxic that the aide filed a complaint, but ultimately resigned from her position.

Eventually a settlement was agreed upon by Meehan and the aide, for an undisclosed amount, said to be several thousand dollars, and a confidentiality agreement was included.  And guess where the money to pay the settlement came from?  You guessed it … Meehan’s congressional office fund.  We The People paid because Patrick Meehan wished to let Wee Willie Winky out to play with younger girls.  I do hope the good people of Pennsylvania remember this in November when they head to the polls.

Putin joins the NRA …

putin-NraIn a report from McClatchy Publishing, it appears that the National Rifle Association (NRA) had more than one reason for supporting Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.  According to the report …

“The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.”

Thanks to the conservative attack on campaign finance restrictions (ie., Citizens United) and disclosure rules, the system has become much less transparent, in ways that enable those with resources — including, perhaps, hostile foreign governments — to influence the elections while keeping their tracks covered.

I don’t know about you, my friends, but I am beginning to feel as if I am living within a John le Carré novel.

North and South – Reunited …

On Wednesday (January 17th) it was announced that North and South Korea will march together under one flag to kick off the XXIII Winter Olympics opening ceremonies on February 9th in PyeongChang, South Korea. This will be the first time in twelve years that the two Koreas will come together since the 2006 Olympics in Turin.  It is far from a peace treaty between the two nations who have been at war for the better part of six decades, but it is a step in the right direction

North Korean Athletes Attend World Student Games In South KoreaMeanwhile, guess who wants credit?  You got it … the Great Divider, Donald Trump, who has added to the tension and concerns in the area with his constant threats and taunts against North  Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.  On January 4th, during a phone call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in,Trump reportedly asked Moon to publicly give him credit for making the talks between North and South possible.  And then he tweeted …

“With all of the failed “experts” weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total “might” against the North. Fools, but talks are a good thing!”

No, Donnie, you don’t get credit for this one.

I’m sure there is more news behind the smoke screen of the government shut down, but this is all I have for this afternoon.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the return of Jolly Monday after its one-week hiatus.

Still More Bits ‘N Pieces …

Last week, when I was experiencing a bouncy brain and couldn’t seem to stay focused on any one topic for more than 4.3 minutes, I did one of my Bits ‘n Pieces posts with short snippets better suited to my mental state at that moment.  A reader commented that he prefers a compilation of shor bits anyway.  While some topics are more in-depth and require a longer post, there are always a number of things floating across my radar that aren’t suited to a full post in themselves.  So today, though I don’t have mind bounce, I am working on a few projects, none of which are yet complete, and thus I bring you a new installment of my random Bits ‘n Pieces.

A Grave Mistake???

Most of you have probably never heard of Casey Fisher, but republicans in Utah are familiar with the name.  Casey is a GOP official for Davis County, Utah, and oversees the republican caucuses in his district.  Last week, he posted this on his Facebook page:

“The more I study history, the more I think giving voting rights to others not head of household has been a grave mistake.”

Seriously?  Does the word ‘misogynist’ pop into anybody’s mind?  But wait, for it only gets more bizarre.  Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher, a woman, rushed to defend Casey Fisher …

“The sentiment was along the lines of what our Founding Fathers believed in. Not necessarily that men only have the vote, that was not necessarily what he was saying. I certainly don’t agree with that sentiment. He’s not trying to say that only men should vote, that’s not what he’s saying. And that’s as far as I’m going to go.”

Fisher began receiving so many angry messages that he deleted not only the post, but his entire Facebook account!  But Horlacher apparently felt sorry for him and chimed back in …

“Casey has been completely harassed today. He has been inundated with mean emails, mean comments, mean phone calls. I mean, seriously. He’s quite astounded [by] the repercussions of all of this. I know Casey. He’s a really good guy. I think he just put something out there without thinking about what it looked like.”

I need add nothing more to this one, do I?


Out of the Mouths of Babes …

Those Trump boys aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs in the pack, are they?  I personally think Eric is the dumber of the two, and he may have proven that this morning when he appeared on Fox & Friends.  Asked about his sire’s highly inappropriate comment referring to certain nations as ‘shithole countries’, Eric had this to say …

“My father sees one color — green. That is all he cares about. He cares about the economy. He does not see race. He is the least racist person I ever met in my entire life.”

EricBack in November, when Trump made another racist slur referring, once again, to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocohantas”, Eric once again attempted to come to daddy’s rescue with …

“The irony of an ABC reporter (whose parent company Disney has profited nearly half a billion dollars on the movie “Pocahontas”) inferring that the name is “offensive” is truly staggering to me.”

Did I mention those Trump boys aren’t too bright?

I Think Not …

Sarah Huckabee Sanders seems to like being Trump’s fool.  Her latest statement of fantasy …

“Look, I have said it before, I will say it again: I think it is disgraceful the way this president is treated. If he was anybody else the media would be going on and on trumpeting his successes. Hopefully, over the course of this year, we’ll have a change of heart of some of the media as they get more money in their pockets due to massive tax cuts…. Maybe they will have a change in their heart too.”

If she seriously thinks that journalists who may receive a few extra dollars in their monthly pay are going to stop doing their jobs and become Trump’s pawns, she is seriously delusional.  Most journalists do what they do because they believe in the goal of an informed public, an open door to truth.  And, most journalists are also smart enough to realize that every extra dollar they bring home throughout the year will likely be eaten up when they file their annual return, for many deductions are no longer available to them.  Dream on, Sarah!

Women’s Event … ???

For some reason that I cannot understand, the White House held  “A Conversation with the Women of America”, an event hosted, as best I can figure, by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (yes, her again).  As best I can figure, the event was set up to give Trump a platform to a) toot his own horn, and b) show women how very much he loves and respects them.

SandersThere are videos online of the event, if you’re interested.  I did not have the stomach for it today.  Ms. Sanders told all the women to be sure to ask their boyfriends and husbands to buy them jewelry, and then came the main event: Donald Trump.

One might think that at such an event, the speech would have centered around women, how far they have come, how the administration is taking steps to empower women, blah, blah, blah.  But nope, not this time.  Trump rambled about the black unemployment rate, his November 2016 electoral college victory, tax cuts, and the “very tough measures” other countries are taking to crack down on drug abuse. And then, he returned to one of his favourite topics, Hillary Clinton.

“Arkansas, great state. How did I win Arkansas by so much when she came from Arkansas? Had the other side gotten in, the market would have gone down 50% from where it was. Fifty percent from where it was. Remember that. It was stagnant and it was going down. “

Let us take up a collection to buy a case of duct tape to send to the White House for his mouth, okay?

Well, folks … that’s enough for today, yes?  Stay tuned, for there is sure to be more!



A Bit of This and A Bit of … I Forget …

You’ve heard me complain of my condition that I term ‘mind bounce’ … it is when I simply cannot stay focused on any one topic for more than a few minutes at a time.  Today, it is so bad that I started to put my socks on, put the right sock on and then moved onto the next task of gathering towels … and I still don’t remember where the left sock is.  So, long story short, I could not write my usual afternoon post that typically runs between 800-1,200 words, for my mind bounced to another topic after only 57 words.  So, today I present you with a few snippets that may later lead to full-length posts … or not.  Hopefully this bout of mind bounce won’t last more than a day.

Mass Exodus

Rats deserting trump ship

Rats deserting a sinking ship

Today, Republican House member Darrell Issa from California announced that he will not seek re-election in November.  This brings the total number of members of Congress leaving office on or before January 2019 to 48, or nearly 9% of the total legislative branch.  And with more than ten months to go until the November 6th election day, I am convinced this number might double before then.  Of the 48 leaving, 32 are Republicans, 16 are Democrats.

I wish I could say that they are beginning to see the light, find their consciences, and simply cannot work with Donald Trump any longer, but sadly, I don’t think that is the case for most.  Some are leaving in shame, having been accused of sexual misconduct, and others are leaving to run for a different office, such as governor of their state, or senator.

An article in CNN this morning refers to this as ‘strategic retirement’, which somehow gave me the feeling that this is a huge chess game, with We The People as the pawns.

I also wish I could say that the retiring members of Congress will use this opportunity, these next ten months while they are lame ducks and have nothing to lose, to stand firm against Trump and his plutocratic agenda.  But we have already seen with the votes by Bob Corker and Jeff Flake that this is not the case … they are still pandering and boot-licking.  The good news is there will be at least 48 vacant seats with no incumbent in November, and typically the party of the sitting president does not fare well in mid-term elections.  A bit of a bright spot, anyway.

Nuke ‘Em Donnie

Trump-nukeWhen you alienate all your friends, and start hanging out with those bullies who would love to catch you in a dark alley, beat you up and steal your lunch money … then you better watch your back.  Kids do this sometimes, because they think life is a popularity contest and their circle of true friends are to ‘wimpy’ or ‘nerdy’, so they swat away their friends and start hanging with the ‘cool’ guys, the badasses.  But let the buyer beware …

Little Donnie Darkness seems to believe he needs a ‘tough’ image, though for the life of me I cannot see anything ‘tough’ about the image of a fat old man with a terrible complexion, an oddly shaped mouth, and fake, straw-coloured hair. Still, Donnie thinks he, and by extension the nation, need a tougher image, so he has been pushing away our friends and allies ever since before taking office.  He has insulted, threatened and bullied our allies and brought shame to our nation by pulling out of the Paris Accords. He has insulted one of our two nearest neighbors and allies by referring to its citizens as murderers and rapists and threatening to build a border wall and force them to pay for it.  And then … he cozied up to our antagonists (I try to stop short of using the word ‘enemy’, but interpret as you will), such as Vladimir Putin of Russia. He has praised leaders who have made a mockery of democracy and are violators of human rights, such as Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.  And now, he seems to feel the need to ‘watch his back’.

And how, you ask, does he plan to do that?  Well he plans to ‘loosen’ the existing constraints on the use of nuclear weapons!  Every person I have spoken to over the past year says they are at least “very concerned” about the fool in the Oval Office having access to the nuclear codes.  And now, folks … now he is planning to make it even easier to use those nukes! Has anyone mentioned to him the terms “arms control” and “nonproliferation”?  Has anybody ever explained SALT to him?  Has it been explained that we are trying to reduce the number of nuclear weapons around the world to ensure a safer world?

Score One For Da Judge

Trump seems to be trying very hard to get rid of people … first there was the Muslim ban, then he wanted to deport the ‘Dreamers’, and now he is threatening to deport all immigrants from El Salvador.  But he got his little hand slapped yesterday, when Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco wrote that the administration must “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis”.  Needless to say, this will be challenged and ultimately end up on the docket of the Supreme Court, just as happened with Trump’s Muslim ban, but still … it is a win for the young people who have lived most of their lives in this country and know no other home.

trump vs judgeTrump, needless to say, wasn’t happy, calling the court system “broken and unfair”.  Doesn’t that just remind you of a toddler who doesn’t get his way, saying “No fair!!!”.  It is rather a shame, and speaks volumes, that my first real laugh of the day was reading that Trump is unhappy!  I call this ‘inverse happiness corelation’.  Oh, and one more note on this … Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the judge’s ruling “outrageous”.  Sigh.  Another boot-licker.

trump tantrum

And that wraps up my bits ‘n pieces for the day.  I shall spend the rest of this day trying to control the bounding balls in my mind and settle in to provide you with my typical snarky babbling tomorrow!  I’m fairly certain that my problem, the reason for the mind bounce, is just too much news all at once.  By the time I awaken in the morning, I usually have no less than 4-5 ‘breaking news’ updates awaiting on my phone.  It’s too much … it’s boggling my mind!

bounce ball

More Bits ‘N Pieces from Filosofa’s Mind …

I had too many ideas piling up in my mind, and there simply wasn’t any more room to store them, so this morning I decided to do one of my Bit’s ‘N Pieces posts …

A Freudian Slip?

A Twitterer with the moniker of @ProudResister posted this tweet:

“The solution is simple. Roy Moore: Step down from the race. Al Franken: Resign from congress. Donald Trump: Resign from the presidency. GOP: Stop making sex ual assault a partisan issue. It’s a crime as is your hypocrisy.”

Nothing too unusual there, right?  But what is unusual is that it was re-tweeted more than 1,900 times, and one of those re-tweeters was by none other than the Department of Defense at the Pentagon!

PentagonPentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said in a statement that an authorized operator of the Defense Department’s official Twitter site “erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed by the Department of Defense. The operator caught this error and immediately deleted it.”  Hmmmm … maybe … or perhaps it was a Freudian Slip?

@ProudResister, meanwhile, has seen unprecedented traffic on his Twitter feed and some fun comments:

  • When PROUD RESISTER 👊 calls for the President of the United States to resign and the Pentagon retweets it! #RESIST
  • Woah, @ProudResister, you got retweeted by the @DeptofDefense. The internet is forever, DoD. And yes, @realdonaldtrump should #resign.
  • Congrats to my friend, @ProudResister, for the pick-up today by the US military!
  • @ProudResister is my friend ffs. He is posing with me in my Twitter profile pic. Hey Pentagon RT this:#ResignTrump
  • .@ProudResister I’m sure you’re proud of yourself, and still laughing your ass off- I know I am DoD retweets his tweet calling for #ImpeachTrump Will they tell 45 that they were “just joking”?🙃

And on it goes, but you get the idea.  I still say it was no accident.

Did They Forget About Freedom of the Press?

Roy Moore has been headline news for weeks now, and it is much to my surprise that anybody continues to support him, but some do, including the religious leaders in his state. Faith2Action president Janet Porter introduced Moore at the start of a conference in Birmingham Alabama yesterday:

“Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the hero of the day, our valiant leader Judge Roy Moore.”

Somebody quick … bring me a bucket!  Has nobody told these people that Moore has not been a judge since he left the judiciary last year after being suspended for failure to uphold the law?

And this from Alan Keyes, chairman of Renew America and a former Senate and presidential candidate:

“I stand with Judge Roy Moore, because he never leaves God out. Roy Moore stands on the premise that when you come to strip away a man’s rights, you spit in the face of God. If that’s what they’re doing to him, if when the rights of your representative are stripped away, what is the logical conclusion? That you’re rights are stripped away, that your rights are gone.”

The speeches praising Moore and denigrating his detractors went on for a full two hours, and even a Rabbi got in on the act.  But what I find most galling is that the media was largely blamed for the accusations against Moore and told by religious leaders to “hush”!

Flip Benham, the evangelical leader of Operation Save America, told the media present during his address, “Your knee is gonna bow, and you’re gonna confess, you have no choice. Hell is a place you choose to go!”  Say WHAT???

At the beginning of the conference, the event planner informed reporters that organizers “have requested no questions about any of the allegations”. When the question and answer portion arrived, the first question came from a CNN reporter who asked Moore whether or not he had touched any of the women who have alleged he sexually harassed them in some way. Moore’s supporters yelled in anger. “He’s already answered that,” said one. “Hush,” said another. “Stop lying,” said yet another.

A second reporter asked a similar question, at which point Moore and his wife Kayla stood up and exited the room, and the press conference came to an abrupt halt. “You were told not to ask about that,” a woman supporting Moore said angrily to the CNN reporter. “You make me sick,” another woman said to him.

And then Alan Keyes jumped on his soapbox and berated the press:

“You refused to stop your abuse. Asked, and answered, again and again. He could answer that question a thousand times, and if a thousand accusations were made, he could answer every one a thousand times and you would prove yourself a liar.”

And a supporter, Ginger Barbee …

“You were asked to ask questions about the issues, the issues about our country. You were not asked to ask personal questions about Mr. Moore. We wanted to hear what he had to say about the issues, and you did not allow it because you are the fake, lying news from the swamp.”

Ahem … excuse me, people, but is not the job of the press to ask the tough questions?  And is not Freedom of the Press covered under the very same Constitutional Amendment as Freedom of Religion?  Enough evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Moore exists to convince even the Republican National Committee to withdrew their support of Moore, and both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have requested that he step down. Mr. Moore’s blind-faith followers may know a lot about their religious tome, but they need some lessons on the Constitution!

And if I had any doubts whether he still had a loyal following, I guess those doubts have been put to bed.

A List Too Long …

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak appearing in a television interview with state-owned Russia-1, stated that he would not even attempt to name all of the Trump officials he met with because … wait for it … the list is so long that it would take him more than 20 minutes.  I leave you to draw your own conclusions.


Sergey Kislyak

A Large Unemployment Check …

On October 29th, Juli Briskman was photographed giving the middle finger to President Donald Trump’s motorcade during a weekend bike ride in Virginia.  The photo went viral and on the following Monday morning, Briskman, who worked for a federal contractor, Akima, felt that she ought to give a ‘heads up’ to her boss, since she was spattered over much of the internet.  Her honesty earned her a termination of her employment.

girl on bikeShe says she does not regret what she did and stands by her actions.  Good for her!!!  It is not against any law that I am aware of to flip off a jerk who just happens to be in the White House.  But, the reality is that Ms. Briskman is a single mother of two and needs income.

Enter a man named Rob Mello, of Hudson, Massachusetts. Mello created a GoFundMe campaign to support Briskman and her family.  As of Wednesday afternoon, the account had raised over $100,000 from over 4,000 donors and had been shared more than 10,000 times!

Hmmmm … I wonder if I ….

And thus concludes another episode of the bits ‘n pieces from my mind.  I think you can see that it is rather like a messy closet in there, yes?  Have a great day, friends!

silly grin


Bits ‘n Pieces of This ‘n That

mind-bounce.jpgMind bounce, as I call it, Grasshopper mind as our friend David calls it … whatever you call it, it is sometimes annoying, other times a good thing.  It is when your mind refuses to settle on any one topic for very long, bouncing from hither to yon, seeking to know something about everything.  I believe it is more prevalent in this, the era of Trump, for there are so many different things happening all at once that one cannot pick just one topic.  So, today I gave in to the mind bounce and instead of one single topic, I am doing a bit of this and a bit of that …

Donnie Junior …

Those who donate to the Trump campaign (yes, they are still soliciting donations, for I occasionally get an email asking for a contribution) will no doubt be happy to know where their contributions are going.  Mostly, it seems, they are being used to pay Donnie Trump Junior’s massive legal fees.  The Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports that the Trump campaign spent $267,924 on Junior’s legal fees from July through September.  The figure includes $237,924 for Junior’s personal attorney, Alan Futerfas. Another $30,000 went to Williams and Jensen, which helped Junior prepare for Congressional testimony.

And if you donated to the Republican National Committee (RNC), hoping that your contributions would help with various republican candidates’ campaigns, you have also helped Junior, for the RNC spent more than $200,000 on his legal fees, with most going to Alan Futerfas.

In total, more than a half million dollars have been spent on Junior’s legal fees for his utter ignorance when he attempted to collud with the Russians to bring Hillary Clinton down last year.  Two observations:  1) Junior isn’t too bright, but that seems to run in the family, 2) Alan Futerfas is racking up some big money from the Trumps.

More of the Harvey Weinstein show …

Once the sexual harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein became public, it was like an avalanche, with one, then another finally feeling free to speak up.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie were among the two most well-known.  Last week, it was announced that Weinstein had been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Some actors, such as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are scrambling to distance themselves from Weinstein and claiming to have had no prior knowledge of his exploits.


Woody Allen & Harvey Weinstein

On the other side, however, there is Woody Allen, the comedian who was accused, but never convicted of sexually abusing his step daughter. Allen referred to the Weinstein case as a ‘witch hunt’.  (Hmmmm … where have I heard that term before?)  Allen called “the whole Harvey Weinstein thing” a situation that is “very sad for everybody involved. Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.”

I initially said that I did not believe Weinstein would ever see the inside of a jail cell, but now I’m not so sure.  He just might, and personally I hope he does.

Up … Down … Either way, Trump wants credit

up-downWhen the stock market soared earlier this year, Trump claimed sole credit. The reasons for the surge, of course, are more complex and largely have less to do with Trump than he would have us believe.  But last week, Trump announced a new health care policy in which the federal government will halt its practice of paying insurance companies for subsidizing health care for low-income people, effectively shafting some 20 million people. Insurance stocks plummeted, and Trump claims proudly that this, too, signals his success.

“Health Insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!”

Does this ‘man’ not understand anything? Does he think that only democrats own stock in insurance companies?  Or does he think that all the lower income people who were beneficiaries of the insurance subsidies are democrats?  And, given that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that his stroke of the pen will increase the federal deficit by $21 billion by 2020, does he not realize … oh, never mind … of course he does not …

A lack of respect …

In the 10 days since four Green Berets were ambushed and killed in Niger, President Donald Trump has used his Twitter account to attack a sports commentator, call for a curtailing of the free press, denigrate his political enemies, sell a book, draw attention to Vice President Mike Pence’s public protest at taxpayers’ expense, and congratulate himself for a job well done.

green beret.jpgYet he’s failed to say anything about the four U.S. service members killed in Western Africa: Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Sgt. La David Johnson. About a dozen troops were ambushed on Oct. 4 while on a joint patrol with Nigerien troops; five Nigerien soldiers were also killed. This marks the deadliest-yet engagement for U.S. troops since Trump took office, and yet Trump himself has issued no tweets or personal statements about the matter, 10 days after the fact.

And yet another climate-change denier enters the White House …

Last Thursday, Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Ms. White not only denies that man’s contribution to a changing climate is destroying our environment, but she actually claims to believe that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for humanity!!!


She has described efforts to combat climate change as primarily an attack on the fossil fuel industry. Christy Goldfuss, who served as managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Barack Obama, said …

“Her views are so out of the mainstream, it’s almost as if she falls in kind of a flat earth category. Her number one task is to rip and throw out the environmental laws that this whole country has come to accept as standards and norms.”

Let us hope that the Senate will have enough sense not to confirm this nominee!

I envision the job ad for any position in the Trump administration as including a line that reads: “only liars and people with an IQ of less than 50 will be considered.”

Thus concludes the detritus from the bouncing mind of Filosofa for today!  Now, perhaps since I got all that out of my head, I can focus?  Have a great day, folks!spider