Good People Doing Good Things … Best Buddies and More

My first ‘good people’ of the day came to my attention thanks to my youngest reader, Benjamin, who emailed me with … “Namaste, Miss Jill! It’s me, Benjamin! We, Gem and me, found a good people for you! Gem read it to me and I told her, that’s a good people thingy for Miss Jill. Bye!”  Well, he was right, this is perfect for my “good people thingy” … thank you, Benjamin!  Don’t you just love it when a 5-year-old is already taking notice of the good people in this world?


Michell Girard is a hero, at least to one person, Chris Barrington.  Ms. Girard was Chris’ teacher many, many years ago, and she must have been an exceptional teacher, for when Chris was found wandering alone on a highway outside of Gatesville, Texas one day back in June, hers was the only name he could think of to give the Sheriff’s deputies.  You see, Chris is autistic and severely developmentally delayed, and functions at the level of a six-year-old child.

Chris had been living with his father, but his father was in the late stages of leukemia and was not able to get out of bed to care for Chris, so Chris struck out on his own.  When the deputies found him, he had been walking around for two days, and other than his father’s name, the only other one he could come up with was his teacher from way back when, Michell Girard.

When the Sheriff’s office contacted Ms. Girard, she asked …

“What happens if I don’t take him? Will he get in a group home?”

When told that no, he would be institutionalized, she responded …

“Not on my watch, he’s not!”

You’ve gotta love that lady!  And that is how Chris Barrington came to live with a woman he hadn’t seen in years.  Chris’ father died a short time later, on August 1st, and Ms. Girard has applied for permanent guardianship.

There are a lot of things in life that most of us take for granted but that Chris had never known … simple things like … a birthday party!  Says Ms. Girard …

“He’s never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he’s never had Christmas, Thanksgiving, nothing. So, this year is going to be full of firsts.”

But he had a party this year!birthday-cakeAnd that’s not all … he took his first boat ride!  Ms. Girard posted on Facebook to see if any of her friends knew of somebody with a boat who would be willing to take him for a ride … just around Lake Waco.  Enter Jimmy Bennett, owner of JMB Fishing …

“You know, there are so many things that kids want to do. They want to go to Disney. I have one that wants to go to Hawaii on a shark fishing trip. Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That’s all he wants to do.”

Check out the video …

Ms. Girard definitely qualifies in my book as a ‘good people’ … and from the looks of it, Chris Barrington is embarking on a fun new chapter in his life!


As I was digging for more information about Michell Girard and Chris Barrington, I came across another story that led me to an organization …Lisa-RuthMeet best buddies Lisa Buchanan and Ruth Godding.  The two met 20 years ago, through an organization called Best Buddies International, a non-profit that is working to end “social, physical and economic isolation” among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

When they met, Lisa Buchanan was president of the Best Buddies chapter at Marymount University in Virginia.  Per Lisa …

“We hit it off right away. We started talking on the phone. We just did all the on-campus things through college, like Halloweenfest and Christmas parties. Then when I graduated I wasn’t technically in Best Buddies anymore, but I still kept in touch with Ruth.”

The two have spent many good times together.  Lisa is now a schoolteacher and the mother of 13-year-old twins, of whom Ruth says …

“They were very cute babies! I was very surprised they were twins. Wow! There were two babies! I wasn’t expecting that one.”

Godding-Buchanon.jpgBest Buddies International highlighted Ruth and Lisa’s story of enduring friendship this month. According to the organization’s founder, Anthony Shriver …

“Ruth and Lisa’s 20-year friendship is really what Best Buddies is all about. It’s truly a testament to the power of friendship and inclusion. Genuine one-to-one friendships like this change lives, and it’s why we’ve spent the last 30 years working to connect people who may not normally be friends and changing the way people think about individuals with special abilities — everyone should have a best buddy.”

Best Buddies’ Mission Statement:

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.

Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Our programs empower the special abilities of people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve public speaking, self-advocacy and communication skills, and feel valued by society.

our-visionAnd they have had a global impact …

Best-Buddies-2Best-Buddies-3Best-Buddies-4

Take a look at their website  … I think you’ll agree that this organization also qualifies as a ‘good people’ and deserves a two thumbs-up!


Once again, good people just dropped into my lap and I didn’t have to look far.  Underneath all the noise and detritus in the news these days, there are these people, real people, making a difference in the lives of others.  Kind of restores a bit of faith in the world, doesn’t it?

Too Little, Too Late, But Still …

There have been some positive signs that perhaps this nation as a whole is sick and tired of the white supremacists and their rhetoric, sick and tired of seeing white people with notions of superiority thinking they have more ‘natural rights’ than others.  It’s far too little, too late, but still … it’s a start.


And it only took five years …

In 2014, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo choked an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, to death.  It was not the first, nor would it be the last case of a white cop killing an unarmed black man, but it was the case that brought the #BlackLivesMatter movement to the forefront of the public eye.  In almost every one of these cases, the police officers have gotten off scot-free, even kept their jobs.  On Monday, a New York City Commissioner James P. O’Neill made a decision that will, hopefully, set a new precedent, by firing Officer Pantaleo, and stripping him of his pension benefits.

Garner’s crime five years ago was that he was allegedly selling cigarettes outside a convenience store.  For this, he paid with his life.  It is my opinion that Officer Panteleo should have been tried and convicted.  The department had a rule against using the chokehold he used on Mr. Garner, and Garner said, “I can’t breathe”, but still Panteleo didn’t release his hold.  Blatant cruelty.  And yet, despite Mr. Garner’s death having been ruled a homicide, Panteleo was never charged.

As I said, this is a case of too little, too late.  Pateleo should be in prison, but instead he is in his lawyer’s office trying to force the NYPD to reinstate him, his benefits, and pay him back pay for time lost.  And, it took James O’Neill five years to decide to fire him.  When they say the “wheels of justice” turn slowly, they aren’t kidding!  Still, it is a small step in the right direction.


A slippery slope …

The 1st Amendment right to free speech is a slippery slope and has been the cause of much disagreement throughout time.  At what point does free speech cross the line and become punishable?  At what point should speech be silenced?  Some would answer “never”, but most reasonable people agree that there must be limits, but rarely agree to the terms of said ‘limits’.  In this age of social media, the question becomes even more relevant, for there are those who believe that hate speech is protected under the 1st Amendment, and spew their hate all over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for all the world to see.

Last week, social media outlets Facebook and Instagram suspended the accounts of James Orien Allsup, and Twitter had already suspended his account in late 2017.  James Orien Allsup is a white supremacist who marched with the other white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 and whose hate speech can still be seen on YouTube.  There will be some, no doubt, who will cry “Foul!” at the move by Facebook and Instagram, but frankly, I support the move.

I am a staunch advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  However, in my book there is a line.  When you publicly threaten or incite violence, then you have shirked the responsibility that accompanies those rights.  I say the same about media outlets such as Fox and Breitbart that engage in conspiracy theories that have already led to violence and loss of life.  I applaud Facebook and Instagram, and would urge YouTube to remove this man from their platform as well.


The New York Times is doing an excellent series titled The 1619 Project:

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

I will be including some of their works in future posts, but I urge you to check it out for yourselves.  Racism, white supremacy, white nationalism … whatever name you give it … is ugly, and in this country, it is increasing at what I consider to be an alarming rate.  We need to tackle this subject, to take off the window dressing and show it for what it is … arrogant hate.  A friend sent me a meme recently that I think should be made into a poster and mailed to every member of any of the 1,000+ hate groups around the country! racism-for-dummies.jpg

Jolly Monday Awaits!!!

Good morning, friends!  It’s Monday again … yay.  Oh, no, of course I’m happy to see you!  This is often the highlight of my week … I’m just not quite ready to face another week just yet … I was enjoying the more laid-back-ed-ness of the weekend.  But, a new week it is, and that means we need to kick it off with some fun and funnies, right?  … … What’s that noise???  JOE … wake up … you’re snoring!!!  Go grab a cuppa coffee, for Pete’s sake!

Joe-Monday-coffeeSo, how was your weekend?  Mine was quiet with a capital Q!  Daughter Chris had four separate band performances on Saturday and two on Sunday, so she was largely either gone, or napping on the sofa, for she was marching outdoors in a wool kilt, wool socks, and the temps were in the 90s!  Needless to say, she was t-i-r-e-d!  So, Miss Goose and I did our own thing and few words were spoken, except for Saturday evening when we collaborated on a Chinese supper … she made the Chow Mein, I made the cream-cheese Rangoon, and we had Pandora frozen Eggrolls.  It was both fun and tasty!

Well, I know you all have places to go, people to see, and all that, so let’s get this show on the road and find some fun stuff to start the week off right.  Snacks over on the table … help yourself!

 

 

fruit-bowlcoffee-tea

Larrys-celery

Larry’s celery


Roomba with a ‘tude …

You know those self-driving little disc-shaped vacuums called ‘Roomba’?  I don’t have one because I can only imagine what it would do to the hearts of our poor little already traumatized fur babies.  Well, back in May, a young man named Michael Reeves, a techie sort of guy, decided to have some fun and do a bit of back-door programming on a Roomba.  What he did … he taught it to scream obscenities!  Now, maybe I’m getting interested in a Roomba after all!Roomba-1He took the modified Roomba to the Target store where he originally bought it for what he refers to as a bit of “market research” and turned it loose.

Roomba-3Roomba-4The store manager, however, failed to see the humour, and ultimately Michael concluded that the general public is not ready for his invention.Roomba-2

“It appears as though our invention is simply too far ahead of its time. The world isn’t ready for the Roomba that screams when it bumps into things and I’m okay with that.”


Oops!

Lindsey and Mark Lashley recently had a baby … well, Lindsey had it, Mark stood by and watched.  They named the baby Cason Knox (yes, really), and Mark’s mother got down to the business of letting everybody in the family know.  She must have thought the easiest way was to send a text message to everyone on her contact list, but one of those people had changed their phone number.  The old number for the cousin had been re-assigned, and a stranger named Dennis Williams received the text message.

Imagine his puzzlement, but nonetheless, he and his brother, Deorick, decided to pay a hospital visit to the new parents, and they even brought gifts!  This, folks, is something you don’t see everyday … just a random act of kindness that started as a wrong number!Dennis-Deorick


Little things …

It’s a little thing, and some might think it’s a waste of time, or not very important, but … I think it’s a sign of hope in more ways than one.

This tortoise, dubbed Helix, was born with a congenital deformity, whereby the bottom of his shell is twisted upside down. Its front half was perfectly normal there was no deformity in his face or front legs. He was able to properly eat, and he could scoot itself around using its front legs, though at times he struggled.

Enter Randy Betz, a medical sales consultant with a side business of … helping people hatch tortoises!  Who knew?  Betz said Helix was in danger of being euthanized, as he was unable to walk. Betz was inspired by a mini skateboard to come up with a unique solution.

“I took some glue, some superglue, and I glued it right on the back end of it.  Very heartwarming to see him as happy as he was able to move around.”

Take a look for yourself …


Lightning strikes again … and again … and again …

I found this picture over at Phil’s Phun, and I have no idea where this was or when, but isn’t this an amazing display of lightning?lightning


Funnies …

How about a few funnies?funny-1funny-2funny-3funny-4


And, I must stop here, but one last bit of fun … I cannot conclude Jolly Monday without a cute animal video!  I disappointed young Benjamin again on Saturday, and promised to make this extra special for him, so … let’s watch some baby polar bears take their first steps …


jollyAnd that wraps up yet another Jolly Monday, my friends!  Please … share those gorgeous smiles with everyone you see this week … we all could use a kindly smile, a touch on the shoulder, a hug.  Keep safe and have a wonderful week!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

Sorry Snarky Snippets … Sigh

With apologies to all, Saturday Surprise is on hiatus for this morning.  If perchance I find a bit of humour somewhere in my heart later today, you may see a ‘Sunday Surprise’ tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I am filled with snarky angst, and so I shall share with you some snippets of snark, ‘k?


What an honour … NOT!

I wrote a few days ago about Trump’s rambling speech at the site of a new Shell facility in Pennsylvania where he turned what was to have been a speech into a campaign rally.  It gets even better (where better is worse).  The facility is Shell’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania that is currently under construction.  An ethane cracker plant is one that takes oil and gas and breaks it into smaller molecules, to create ethylene, which is used in plastics manufacturing.  Not one thing environmentally friendly to see here, folks.  But, to my point …

Take a look at the photo below to see how well-attended the event was by Shell workers …

Shell-workersA dedicated bunch, devoted to being good little Trumpeters, right?  Only problem is that … well, take a look at the memo they received prior to Trump’s visit …

workers-Trump-attendanceFor my visually impaired readers, the relevant points of the memo are as follows:

  • All personnel will be bused to the Trump speech location. Prepare to stand for several hours. You will be standing through your normal lunch period. Lunch WILL NOT be provided.
  • No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event. An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the labour unions.  Your building trades leaders and job stewards have agreed to this.
  • Your attendance is not mandatory. This will be considered an excused absence.  However, those who are NOT in attendance will not receive overtime pay on Friday.

So, in order to receive their overtime, they must attend a Trump rally, keep their mouths shut, play nice, and stand idly on their feet without lunch for several hours.


It was only a matter of time …

How many times have those of us with functioning brains said that guns in schools are a bad … really bad … idea?  It was only a matter of time before it happened.  Luckily, this time no child was shot, but it will happen … the clock is ticking.

It happened at Highland Elementary School in South Bloomfield Township, south of Columbus, Ohio.  Vicky Nelson, the transportation director for the district, was one of those selected to carry a concealed weapon in order to “protect” the students.  One day back in March (for some reason, this was not made public until just this week), Ms. Nelson had her 6-year-old grandson who attends the school, and another first-grader in her office when she left the office briefly to go to the bathroom.

When she returned, the gun (loaded) was on the desk … the children had found it in the desk and removed it from its ‘concealed’ location to plain view.  This was a near miss but imagine what might have happened.

You’ll be pleased to know that Ms. Nelson has been removed from the school’s concealed carry program and that the school is “currently reviewing the concealed carry program.”  More than once, I’ve envisioned a teacher leaving his gun in his desk drawer, stepping outside for just a minute, and BANG!  It isn’t worth the risk, folks.  Those teachers with guns are not going to stop a shooter with an assault weapon, and it isn’t their job … their job in such a situation would be to see to the safety of the children in their care, not add more bullets to those already flying around!


Prayers for WHAT???

A former co-worker posted a prayer request on Facebook last night.  The reason?  Three days prior, her television had gone out, the television repair person was unable to find the problem, and she was asking for prayers because she thought she had been “pretty patient for 3 days without t.v.”  I nearly choked on my coffee when I read that … children separated from their parents at the border, kept in horrid conditions.  People struggling to put food on the table, others living on park benches on the streets.  People dying of starvation in third world countries.  Air that will soon be unfit to breathe, and water that is becoming increasingly scarce.  Families that cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor.  And this woman is asking for prayers for an effing t.v.???  Consumerism has run amok.  I wonder how people like her will survive when someday Russia compromises our power grid and there is no electricity for months?  Just thought I’d share that one with you … give you something to think about.


Oh yeah???

Trump held another campaign rally in New Hampshire on Thursday.  When does this guy ever work?  He’s always flitting about the country, playing to his masses, sucking up potential votes for next year … and we’re paying him for this???  Anyway, I just wanted to share with you one thing he said at the rally that really set my teeth on edge …

“See, the bottom line is, I know you like me and this room is a lovefest and I know that, but you have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k)s … down the tubes. Everything is going to be down the tubes.  So whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”

I would willingly swallow a cyanide capsule before I would vote for him.


Greenland is NOT for sale, but …

The current occupant of the big White House isn’t satisfied with just one nation to ruin … he is now seeking, so say certain of his aides, to purchase Greenland.  Well, methinks li’l Donnie is in for a rude awakening, but you just don’t wake up one morning and decide to buy a country.

Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark.  Greenland’s Premier Kim Kielsen stated in no uncertain terms …

“Greenland is not for sale, but Greenland is open for trade and cooperation with other countries, including the USA.”

Foreign affairs spokesman for Denmark, Soren Espersen, went a step further …

“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad. The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous.”

So, I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be buying Greenland, but what, even, was Trump’s motivation for saying, repeatedly, that he wanted his aides to look into it?  Is there coal under Greenland that Mr. Piggy would like to get his hands on?  Here’s one possibility …Trump-tower-GreenlandBut, last night friend Ellen sent me the latest by humourist Andy Borowitz, writing The Borowitz Report for The New Yorker, and this sounds like a much better idea!

borowitz-andyCOPENHAGEN (The Borowitz Report)—After rebuffing Donald J. Trump’s hypothetical proposal to purchase Greenland, the government of Denmark has announced that it would be interested in buying the United States instead.

“As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale,” a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. “We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale.”

“Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government,” the spokesperson added.

A key provision of the purchase offer, the spokesperson said, would be the relocation of Donald Trump to another country “to be determined,” with Russia and North Korea cited as possible destinations.

If Denmark’s bid for the United States is accepted, the Scandinavian nation has ambitious plans for its new acquisition. “We believe that, by giving the U.S. an educational system and national health care, it could be transformed from a vast land mass into a great nation,” the spokesperson said.

That “key provision” appeals, does it not?


Enjoy your weekend, my friends!

Good People Doing Good Things — Helpers

We’ve had more than our share of bad news in the past week or two, haven’t we?  It’s often easy to believe that the world is mostly evil, that kindness, compassion and caring have gone by the wayside.  But, as I find every week when I go in search of good people for my Wednesday morning feature, they are out there … we just have to shove aside all the bad people and open our eyes and our hearts, and we will find them.  Today, I have for you an assortment, but first … I thought this was in keeping with the theme …Inspirational-quote


Caden Dixon is nine-years-old, and he really, really did not want to go to school that first day of fourth grade.  He was dreading it more than most kids do.  Why?  Well, you see, Caden’s dad was a police officer with the Hall County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Department and he was killed exactly one month before in the line of duty.  Caden’s dad always took him for the first day of school … but this year he wasn’t there and Caden couldn’t face it.  Enter a bunch of good cops …Caden-1

Caden-2

Caden-3

Caden-4On Wednesday morning, more than a dozen of his dad’s colleagues arrived at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy in Gainesville and escorted Caden to class.  The deputies in Dixon’s Patrol Watch were a tight-knit group, according to spokesman Derreck Booth.

“Since the tragedy last month, members of the watch and other deputies, particularly Sgt. Hewell, have been actively involved with serving and comforting Dixon’s family.”


Last November, California experienced the most devastating wildfires in its history. The worst, known as the Camp Fire, killed 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes, leaving over 50,000 people homeless.  Enter Woody Faircloth of Denver, Colorado …

Woody-Faircloth“There are people that lived lives like we do, that went to work every day, went to school and had very normal lives that now find themselves homeless with nowhere to turn, nowhere to live. I just couldn’t imagine being in that position. I had a hard time letting it go … I knew I wanted to do something to help.”

Faircloth browsed Craigslist in the areas affected by the fires and saw an enormous need for temporary housing for evacuees. So, he set up a GoFundMe page and invited people to donate so they could purchase and restore a used RV for a family.

Through social media, Faircloth eventually got connected with a family of six that was greatly in need. Just before Thanksgiving, Faircloth filled the RV with supplies and — along with his youngest daughter, 7-year-old Luna — embarked on the nearly 1,200-mile drive to California to deliver the vehicle.rv.pngThat first donated RV led to another, and by December, Faircloth had more than 100 requests for RVs from afflicted families.  Witnessing how great the need was, Faircloth turned his idea into a nonprofit, RV4CampfireFamily.

“If we have a platform to help, we have to keep helping.”

Faircloth connects with RV owners interested in donating or selling their used RVs at a low cost. He refits the RVs himself and negotiates costs when he needs to enlist professional mechanics for heavy-duty repairs. Once the RV is ready to go, Faircloth organizes a way to transport it to the recipient.

The organization has thus far provided RV homes to 65 families.


Imagine … we as adults are so devastated by the recent mass shootings, it affects us in any number of ways, from sleeplessness to frustration & angst, to looking about every time we go out in public, wondering who might be thinking what.  So, imagine what it’s like for children who are just old enough to understand what happened, but not yet old enough to understand why.  One eleven-year-old, Ruben Martinez of El Paso, was among those who was having difficulty taking it all in.  According to his mother, Rosa Gandarilla …

“He was having some trouble dealing with what happened. I explained to him that we could not live in fear and that people in our community are caring and loving. I told him to try and think of something he could do to make El Paso a little better.”

And so, Ruben did just that! Ruben-1Ruben Martinez is challenging each person in El Paso to do 22 acts of kindness for others in honor of the 22 people who died that day.  Ruben has been passing out flyers and posting on social media to try and help the #ElPasoChallenge spread. He is also leading by example …

“Last night, he agreed to go out to do his first act of kindness. He chose to go deliver dinner to our first responders.”

The response on Twitter has been great …

  • Willow the RainFawn@DaDoofFloofbutt:  “I will join in. But instead of 22, I will have 34 acts of kindness-3 for the Garlic Festival shooting, 22 for El Paso, 9 for Dayton, Ohio”
  • Victoriaa@hippievicky:  “Today my niece, friend and I did the #ElPasoChallenge! It felt so good doing something nice for others! Each of the 22 notes had the name of a victim because we wanted these good deeds to be for them! #ElPasoStrong I encourage y’all to do this challenge!”

And there were many, many more.  It seems to me that the youth of this nation are our hope for the future, and right now I trust their good sense more than I do that of many adults!  People turn to churches for guidance in times of trouble … perhaps they would be better off to turn to young people!


I came across this short video on a friend’s blog, Nuggets of Gold, last night, and I think it fits in perfectly with the ‘good people’ theme.  See what you think …

Sources of *Sigh*s

As most of you who have followed this blog for any length of time know, I am a lover of animals.  I have often said I prefer goats, bears, lions, snakes and spiders to most humans, especially these days.  So, you might imagine the low-throated growl that has been emitting from me ever since reading the following headline this morning …

U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act

First, he destroys the camaraderie of the nation, turns brother against brother, mother against child, and friend against friend.  Then, he destroys the environment, not only of the nation, but of the entire planet, by reversing nearly every environmental protection regulation on the books and pulling the U.S. – against the will of the majority – out of the Paris Climate Accords.  And now … now he is destroying the beautiful wildlife, many species of which were here on earth long before humans were, and all of which are more worthy of life than humans!Bald Eagle.jpgThe story:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.  Under the current law, assessments about which species should be labeled as ‘endangered’ must be made solely based on science, without consideration for economic impacts.  But, if the new ruling is allowed to go into effect, regulators would be forced to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.

David Bernhardt

David Bernhardt (Why are all of Trump’s minions like him:  fat, old, white, male???)

The ruling appears to be in the interest of the fossil fuel and logging industries.  David Bernhardt, Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, is a former oil and gas lobbyist who has long been a critic of the Endangered Species Act, saying that it places an “unnecessary regulatory burden” on companies, such as coal, oil and gas companies.

Environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and Democrats in Congress denounced the changes and vowed to challenge them in Congress and in the courts.  But, as we have seen, both Congress and the courts have had very limited success in stopping the runaway train that is Donald Trump.Grizzly Bear.jpgMake no mistake … allowing thousands of species to become extinct will have a significant impact on this planet, as will allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue operating unregulated.  The human species is on the brink of bringing about its own extinction, and frankly, I’m not so sure that’s an altogether bad thing!  We are not trying to live in harmony with nature but are rather trying to dominate and destroy nature.

I have a terrific idea!  Since Trump is removing the protections for both the environment and wildlife, let’s also remove the protections for Trump … protections, I might add, that we the taxpayers pay with our hard-earned money!  No more Secret Service protection for Donnie!


And in other news … if you didn’t think that Donald Trump had brainwashed republicans before, this will surely convince you.  According to a recent study by Pew Research, while most Americans continue to say it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power, the share expressing this opinion has declined since last year. Most of the change has been among Republicans – especially conservative Republicans. The study found that …

Currently, 66% of the public says “it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power to deal directly with many of the country’s problems.” About three-in-ten adults (29%) offer the contrasting opinion that “problems could be dealt with more effectively if U.S. presidents didn’t have to worry so much about Congress or the courts.” In March 2018, 76% of the public said it would be too risky to give presidents more power.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (51%) now say it would be too risky to give presidents more power, down from 70% last year.

The share of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts has increased 16 percentage points since then, from 27% to 43%.

There was a reason the framers of the Constitution put in place three independent branches of the federal government, a system of “checks and balances”, to provide oversight.  Donald Trump has already largely trampled the Constitution in this area, for any time he cannot get his way through Congress or the courts, he simply writes an ‘executive order’, or circumvents the system altogether.  And now, we find that increasingly, republicans are fine with that.  At this point, I would say we are already experiencing an autocratic government, and teetering on the brink of a dictatorship.  This is no longer just a nightmare scenario, my friends, but a clear and present danger. So yes, be afraid … be very afraid.

Jolly’s Surprise Monday!

Good morning, friends … come in, come in … and welcome to yet another Monday morning!  I hope you all had a marvelous weekend!  Mine?  Well, daughter Chris had scheduled a day off on Friday, as she was expecting to be gone all weekend with band commitments and wanted us to have a family day.  But then on Thursday night at band practice, she found out she had the dates wrong and it’s actually next weekend that she’ll be gone, but by that time it was too late to change her day off, so she had a relaxing three-day weekend!  Miss Goose and I enjoyed having her home for an extra day, but as always, the weekend went by way too fast.

Now, let’s have some fun before you have to go back to the salt mines, okay?  Grab a snack … and then Jolly has a surprise for you!


jollyHi … it’s me, Jolly!  Guess what?  I been waitin’ all weekend to tell you dis … I gots me a puppy!!! Gwammie says it’s a kitty just like da Feral Five, but to me, it’s a puppy.  But … I gots a problem … I don’ know what to name ‘im.  Can you guys help me?  If you think of a good name, just tell it in da comments, ‘kay?  Isn’t he cute???  You kin pet ‘im if you wanna …Jollys-kitty

He’s been dying to tell you that all weekend … ‘bout drove me nuts, saying, “Is it Monday yet, is it, huh huh?”  Oh, and please … don’t tell Jolly it’s a girl kitty … he’ll freak!


Now, hold onto your hats, folks, ‘cause I found a deal I know you’re gonna jump at!  Those of us of a certain age remember Elvis Presley and his penchant for fancy cars, right?  His cars have become a part of his legend, in fact.  Some are on display in the Automobile Museum at his Graceland home in Memphis.  Others have been sold, such as his 1971 Mercedes-Benz sold just last year for over $100,000.  And another of his cars, a 1967 Lincoln Continental limousine, which once served as something of a royal carriage for the Presley family, will be auctioned this week at Mecum Auctions in Monterey, California.

Any of my West Coast readers might want to consider hopping on down to Monterey and putting in a bid …Elvis-car-exterior

Elvis-car-interiorOkay … well … it hasn’t exactly been kept in tip-top condition, but nothing a little cleaning and a few replacement parts won’t take care of, right?  And the car has history and … AND … it comes with amenities!

‘Colonel’ Tom Parker, Elvis’ agent, bought the car for Elvis for a wedding present in 1967 when he married Priscilla Beaulieu, and it became their family car for a time.  And amenities … it comes complete with a license plate that reads “1-ELVIS” in red letters, and it also comes with a copy of the car’s original title application, which registered the vehicle under the name E.A. Presley.  Now who could pass up a deal like that???


Now here’s a job for you, Larry Paul Brown!  A West Coast restaurant chain announced it is seeking a “bacon intern” to make $1,000 in a single day by taste-testing bacon.  Think of it, one day spent eating one of your favourite foods, and getting paid a cool grand to boot!bacon-1.pngbacon-2.png

Farmer Boys announced the opening for the dream job on its website, stipulating that applicants should use a photo or video on their Instagram accounts to explain why they would be best suited to the position.  Check it out and let us know how you fare, but be quick, for all applications must be in by August 20th, so you have just over a week.


Now, I use my share of emojis and overall, I think they’re cute, and sometimes they even serve a purpose, for electronic communication can be misleading without the eye contact, vocal intonation, and body language to help understand when a person is kidding vs when they are angry or put out.  Misunderstandings happen easily … I know, for I’ve had more than a few.  But, would you want to live in this house?Emoji-houseThe house is the source of an ongoing controversy in Manhattan Beach, California.  Neighbors accuse the owner, Kathryn Kidd, of adopting the unusual decor as retribution after she was fined $4,000 for illegally using the house for short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, which is banned in Manhattan Beach.

An Instagram post from the artist who painted the home originally featured the caption: “Are your neighbors constantly ratting you out? Have they cost you thousands in fines? Have you wanted to tell them off lately? Why risk a case, when you can hire me to paint them a pretty message?”

Kidd denied the emoji paintings were intentionally designed to irk her neighbors.

“It’s a message to me to be positive and happy and love life. I have eyelash extensions. The eyes are like a Mona Lisa eye. They kind of follow you.”

Um … not sure I believe her.


And finally, if it’s Jolly Monday, there must be a cute animal video, yes?  Take a gander at these adorable lion cubs … guaranteed to melt your heart!


Well, folks, that’s a wrap for today.  Time for you guys to get on out there and earn a living, and time for me to earn my keep ‘round here by doing some laundry and some cleaning, and I’ve got to get a beef roast in the crock pot.  Have a great week, my friends, and share those smiles, okay?  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!  Oh … and the ‘puppy’!Jollys-kittyjolly

Stupidity And Guns Don’t Mix …

To brighten your Sunday afternoon, I bring you the tale of three stupid people.  Now, I don’t make a habit of calling people stupid … I suffered a beating for using that word when I was about four or five years old and use the word only sparingly ever since.  But, in the case of these three men, the word just fits so well.


Stupid … just plain stupid

AndreychenkoDmitriy Andreychenko of Springfield, Missouri, is a stupid man.  He is a 2nd Amendment supporter and he apparently keeps what little brain he has where the sun doesn’t shine.

On Thursday, less than a week after a mass shooting in an El Paso Wal-Mart that left 22 people dead and injured 26 others, Dmitriy Andreychenko decided to “test” his 2nd Amendment rights.  So, he loaded up for bear, donned his body armour, and walked into a local Wal-Mart store with an assault rifle, a pistol, and more than 100 rounds of ammunition.  He didn’t intend to shoot anybody, he says, but was merely checking to see if his 2nd Amendment rights would be “respected in public”.

His wife tried to talk him out of it, told him it was “not a smart idea”.  He tried to get his sister to go along and record a video of the experiment, but she apparently had more sense than he, and so Mr. Andreychenko was left to use his own cell phone to record what he referred to as a ‘social experiment’.

People, understandably, panicked at the sight of a heavily-armed man in body armour, and the store manager immediately had an employee pull the fire alarm in order to get people out of the store quickly.  Police were called and Mr. Andreychenko was arrested promptly and without incident, unless you count the police officer who was involved in a car crash on his way to the scene.  But Mr. Andreychenko was puzzled by his arrest …

“This is Missouri, I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out.”

I told you he’s stupid.

If convicted, he will serve up to four years in prison and face a fine of up to $10,000.  Although Missouri is one of some 30 states that allows for openly carrying a weapon, Prosecutor Dan Patterson equated Andreychenko’s actions to yelling fire in a crowded theater.

I’m thinking I’m going to move to a country that doesn’t allow guns in the hands of stupid people.


And speaking of stupid …

Timothy-IrelandTimothy James Ireland, Jr. of Toledo, Ohio, has also seemingly left his brain in a dark place.  This one took his hatred of “other” to social media, posting on Facebook about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez …

“She should be shot. Can’t fire me, my employer would load the gun for me.”

When contacted by police, Mr. Ireland said he was “very proud” of his post and admitted to owning a number of firearms and that he “always carries concealed”, or in other words, never leaves home without his gun.

Sigh.


Too much stupid …

wacholzThis time it’s the owner of a gun store in Murphy, North Carolina, that sat on his brain.  Doc Wacholz, the owner of Cherokee Guns, thought it was a good idea to put up this billboard advertising his wares …billboard

Ol’ Doc was so proud of his work, in fact, that he posted a picture of it on Facebook, and even had bumper stickers made of it, which he sells in his store.  He says he chose the four members of Congress for his billboard because, “their message of turning this country into a socialist country”.  The four, known as ‘The Squad’, have come under fire from republicans of late, and have received threats against their lives because of the hateful rhetoric of none other than Donald Trump.  See, folks … words have consequences … words matter.

The billboard has since been removed, but is not likely to soon be forgotten, since it went viral on social media.


This is the mentality we are dealing with in the U.S.  It is an ugly place to be.  I go out to a store or a restaurant and I find myself looking at everybody I see, wondering … is he packing a pistol somewhere on his person?  Is he one of those fools who would shoot up the place if his food wasn’t to his liking, or if the store was out of his brand of coffee?  You just don’t know any more.  The framers of the Constitution never intended for us to have to live like this.

I will repeat once again what I have said so many times before.  With every right comes a responsibility.  It seems to me that the vast majority of gun-owners in this nation have shirked the responsibility and have assumed their rights to be unlimited.  We can appeal to Congress to enact strict gun laws, but as long as the republican members of Congress are indebted to the NRA, it ain’t gonna happen, folks.  And almost every republican member of Congress has, in fact, accepted donations from the gun lobby.

It is up to us, the people of this nation, to use our brains, to understand what the “right to bear arms” really means, to act with a conscience and a bit of good sense.  In the immortal words of Forrest Gump:  “Stupid is as stupid does.”  And stupid is costing lives … lots of lives.  Maybe mine is next, or yours.  Think about it.

A Handful of Mini-Rants

Yesterday, I shared a post of Gronda’s telling about the arrests of immigrants working at Koch Foods, the cruelty of the administration and ICE agents acting on behalf of Trump & Co.  More than a few times I have written about the cruelty of the administration ripping children from their parents arms, putting them in detention centers that are no better than prison camps, depriving them of basic human necessities.  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m getting sick and tired of this administration’s lack of compassion, lack of humanitarian values.  I am in a ranty mood tonight, so buckle up …


jimmy-aldoudJimmy Aldaoud has lived in the U.S. ever since he was six months old. Born a refugee in Greece, his parents migrated to the U.S. legally in 1979. He was a member of the Chaldean Catholic minority, many of whose members fled Iraq following the second U.S. invasion. He did not speak Arabic and had never been to Iraq. But when he encountered legal issues in the United States, which his lawyer attributed to his mental health issues including paranoid schizophrenia, he was deported to Iraq by the Trump Administration.

Jimmy Aldaoud had Type I diabetes and was insulin-dependent.  He had no family, knew nobody in Iraq.  Shortly after arriving there, he was filmed in a video where he said …

“I’ve been sleeping in the street. I’m diabetic. I get insulin shots. I was throwing up… sleeping in the streets, trying to find something to eat. You know, I got nothing over here.”

Jimmy Aldaoud is now dead because he could not get the insulin he needed.  No … actually, he is dead because the Trump administration decided to deport a man who lived in this country for 40 years.


Yo folks!  Remember in 2016, during the never-ending presidential campaign, when Donald Trump said that he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it?  Remember that?  Well, those of us with functional brains knew the instant he said it that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for the wall.  Why should they?  They aren’t the ones who asked for a damn wall, and the president of the U.S. has no leverage to force another country to pay for his own ego trip.

Well, guess what?  Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall … YOU are!!!  The latest is a proposal by the Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a republican (go figure) from Alabama (go figure, again) that would transfer some $5 billion from the departments of Labour, Health & Human Services (HHS), and Education in order to divert those funds for … you guessed it … Trump’s wall!

It is not a done deal yet, for even if it gets the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate, it would still need to pass in the Democratic majority House of Representatives, but the fact that Mr. Shelby and his cohorts think this is a good idea should raise the hackles of every single citizen in this nation.  Taking away from health care for the poor and elderly, and taking away from the education of our young!

Ironically, in Shelby’s last campaign, he campaigned on cutting wasteful spending.  So, does he consider saving lives and educating our children to be wasteful, yet building a stupid wall that serves no purpose other than to stroke the ego of a megalomaniac not wasteful???  Where is the man’s brain?  Better yet, where is his conscience?  Oh, that’s right … he’s a republican.


Martha McSally of Arizona lost the election in 2018 for U.S. Senate to Democratic candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, and yet, Martha McSally sits in the U.S. Senate today.  Why?  Because republican Governor Doug Ducey appointed her to replace the late Senator John McCain after McCain’s death.  Martha McSally is another republican fool who believes that any single gun regulation is unconstitutional and that mass shootings really aren’t the federal government’s problem nor responsibility.

It won’t surprise you to know that McSally has an “A” rating with the NRA and is in their pockets.   She was one of the nation’s largest 2018 recipients of campaign contributions from gun-rights organizations, with more than $200,000 in gun money.

“Just like I can sell my car, I can sell my gun. Any restrictions on that at gun shows or other places is just absolutely unconstitutional.”

There is a word for her, but out of respect for my readers, I shall leave that to your own imagination.


It seems to me that this nation no longer stands for anything.  We once welcomed people from other nations who were seeking a better life, or fleeing from persecution, but now they are called ‘vile and reprehensible’ by the so-called leaders of our nation, and are treated abominably, in violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.  We once promoted something called the “American Dream”, but it turns out that dream was only allowed to white, straight, Christian males.  We once spoke of “liberty and justice for all”, but today that is a joke, unless again, you are white, straight, Christian and male.  What does this nation stand for … what is its value?  As best I can tell, it stands for the wealthy people, for big businesses, for making money … but only for a few … less than 1% of the people of this nation are currently represented in our government.  Why don’t we do a thorough housecleaning and see if we can restore some values to this country?  Because we have no power and are quickly losing our voice.  If we don’t raise our voices very loudly and very soon, we will be living as the German and Italian people did in 1940.  Think about it.

Sue … Sue, Sue, Sue …

This nation should change its name to the United States of Lawsuits!  Or, perhaps that should be the Divided States of Lawsuits. Now, mind you, it’s always been this way, frivolous lawsuits are nothing new.  But today it is worse than ever, when the so-called “leader” of the nation is best known for having been either a plaintiff or defendant in more than 6,000 lawsuits over the course of his 72 years.

Trump’s first lawsuit occurred when he was in his twenties.  He sued the Department of Justice for $100 million in retaliation after he was found in violation of the Fair Housing Act for racial discrimination in 39 apartment buildings.  The case was thrown out by a federal judge, but for Trump, it was to set a precedent.

And now, he is suing the State of California.  Now, he calls himself the president of the United States, so would someone please ‘splain to me how he can sue one of the 50 states he claims are under his own dominion?  In fact, I found no less than 42 lawsuits with his name as either the sue-er or the sue-ee since he became president, most involving his presidency, others involving his businesses.  Although, according to Paul Nolette, a political science professor at Marquette University, the number is much higher.  Take for example …

Doe et al. v. Trump Corp. et al.  This case was filed in the Southern District of New York just last October.  The defendants claim that Trump, his three eldest children, and his company used the Trump name to entice vulnerable people to invest in sham business opportunities.

So anyway, lawsuits are no stranger to Trump, and in fact it’s probably the thing he is best known for … along with being a liar and a sexual predator.  But the suit against California … this one is, in my opinion, blatant obstruction of justice and an attempt to manipulate both states’ rights and the 2020 election.  Here’s the Cliff Notes version …

Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill requiring all presidential candidates to submit five years of income tax filings by late November in order to appear on the presidential primary ballot in March next year.  This does not affect the general election in November, but only the primaries.  Since there is no credible candidate thus far running against Trump in California, or anywhere else for that matter, it has no practical effect on Trump.  It does, however, affect his ego, and that is largely what is driving Trump’s lawsuit against California.

For the past 40 years, candidates have all released at least some of their tax returns.  Trump has released none, and in fact has blocked every attempt of the House committees looking into his finances from obtaining his tax records.  A person with nothing to hide does not go to such measures to … well, hide things.  The people of this nation have every right to see his tax returns.  The greater the lengths he goes to in his attempt to keep his financial records tucked into a dark corner, the more We the People are convinced there is something very sinister going on.

The lawsuit?  Well, first of all, guess who’s paying for it?  Yepper … you and I … those of us who pay taxes which, by the way, does not include large corporations or Trump’s wealthy donors … it is those of us who get out of bed at 5:00 a.m. every morning and go to a job that we either hate or tolerate … so we can pay Trump’s lawyers for such perfidy as suing the State of California to stroke Trump’s ego.  Chew on that one as you trudge along to another day at the ol’ salt mines!

But, while we’re on the subject of lawsuits … there is yet another lawsuit on which the Supreme Court recently ruled that is infuriating, and although it doesn’t directly involve Trump, it is in fact all about Trump and the GOP …

In the case of Rucho v Common Cause, the Supreme Court ruled that while partisan gerrymandering may be “incompatible with democratic principles”, the federal courts cannot review such allegations, as they present nonjusticiable political questions outside the remit of these courts.

In a nutshell, two state legislators from North Carolina, Senator Robert Rucho and Representative David Lewis decided to re-district, or gerrymander, the state to the advantage of the republican party.  According to Lewis …

“I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

This is election-rigging at its worst, and Common Cause, the North Carolina Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters, as well as several others, brought suit.  Long story short, at the end of the day, the Supreme Court ruled that “partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts”.  Well, excuuuuuse me, but if the issue is “beyond the reach of the federal courts”, then just whose reach is it within???

It seems to me that common sense has been replaced with lawsuits … people cannot seem to be trusted to “do the right thing”, and so, if in doubt hire a good lawyer and sue … somebody … for something.  That is certainly Trump’s m.o., and nowadays we the taxpayer are footing the bill for his lawyer-addiction.

And now, please excuse me … I must go call my lawyer and find out if I can sue Trump for my sleepless nights, heartburn, and the burn on my hand!  Fun, fun, fun!