Will The Court Do The Right Thing?

Nearly a million young people may soon find themselves adrift, without a home or a job, and yet it is barely a blip on the radar, lost in the hoopla surrounding the impeachment proceedings.  Granted, the impeachment of a corrupt president is high priority, is perhaps the most important thing happening in this nation at the moment.  But, the lives of 700,000+ young people are pretty important, too.

Imagine you came to this country as a very young child … your first memories are of life in the United States.  You speak English, you went to school in this country, got an after-school job when you were 16, graduated high school with honours, and now you’re in college, studying to become a doctor, a teacher, or an accountant.  Your grades have earned you a partial scholarship, you are working nights at a food processing plant … and tomorrow it could all be taken away.  You could lose your job, be kicked out of school, and in fact be deported.

Deported?  To where?  You’ve never been outside the U.S. in your conscious memory!  This is your home!  You know nobody in the country of your parents’ origin.  What will you do?  How will you live?  You barely even speak Spanish!  And why?  What have you done wrong?  You’ve never even had so much as a parking ticket … you’ve lived your life well, respecting others, respecting the country that gave your family the opportunity for a better life.

More than 700,000 young people may face this situation soon, if he Supreme Court rules in Trump’s favour on the issue of ending DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that has been in effect since 2012.  Yesterday, the Court heard arguments from both sides, and indications are that they will likely rule in Trump’s favour.

In 2012, President Barack Obama introduced the program, which shields people who were brought to the United States as children from deportation. It was intended as a stopgap measure, and didn’t provide a pathway to citizenship. But it did allow participants, known as Dreamers, to get work permits, and in some states, including California, to access in-state tuition and legally drive. Dreamers can renew their status in two-year intervals.

To be eligible for DACA status, applicants had to show that they had arrived in the United States before they turned 16 and were no older than 30, had lived in the United States for at least the previous five years, were a high school graduate or a veteran, and had committed no serious crimes. The status lasts for two years, allows recipients to work legally and is renewable, but it does not provide a path to citizenship.

In 2017, for reasons I cannot understand, Trump decided to end the program.  Trump had previously indicated his support for DACA, but it was the work of white supremacist Stephen Miller and racist former Attorney General Jeff Sessions that convinced Trump to end the program.  They claimed that the program was illegal and unconstitutional, and apparently Trump, never having read the Constitution, decided to end the program.  In his formal announcement to end the program, Trump wrote …

“I do not favor punishing children. The program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.”

However, it has been successfully defended in court, not once, not twice, but three times.  Three federal appeals courts have ruled that when an administration revokes a policy like this, on which so many people, businesses and even the U.S. economy have relied, the administration must provide a fully supported rationale that weighs the pros and cons of the program, the costs and the benefits. Faced with those lower court decisions, the Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court, where it now awaits its fate.

These young people have faced discrimination that nobody reading this post has likely ever faced. They are banned from many colleges, are not eligible for any federal grants or loans, and in most states,  they cannot even qualify for in-state tuition.  And yet thousands of them have graduated from college in the United States. How do they do it? The motivation of many of these students is so strong it is almost absurd.  And if Trump has his way, it may well be a death sentence for many of the 700,000.

Maria Nava, who graduated from high school in 2003, received no state aid. But her generous sister promised to contribute her own earnings to help put Nava through college. Trouble was, their combined earnings weren’t much. Nava used up the small private scholarships she earned as a top-ranking student. Most semesters, the sisters could afford just one class at Nava’s local community college. One class at a time. Nava graduated from her two-year college in 11 years.

If the Supreme Court overturns lower court injunctions and says Trump followed the law in rescinding DACA, not one of these amazing, accomplished young people will be able to work for a law-abiding employer in the United States.  After Nava’s 11 years at a two-year college, after more than 8,000 DACA teachers have been hired by U.S. school systems, after 14,000 DACA nurses and other professionals got jobs in health care — all who have jobs will have to be fired when their DACA expires. Those who are students will be ineligible for a job with a law-abiding employer.

I sincerely hope that there are five justices on the Supreme Court who have not exchanged their conscience for partisanship.  If the Court sides with Donald Trump & Stephen Miller on this issue, we will know that the Judiciary Branch of our government is no longer an independent, non-partisan branch, but rather an extension of the Executive Branch, currently led by a bigoted, corrupt, wanna-be dictator.

Jolly Monday Wishes A Happy Birthday To Sesame Street!!!

Welcome to another episode of Jolly Monday on this cold Monday morn.  This is a special day in many ways, but one of those ways is that it is Remembrance Day (Canada and the Commonwealth countries) and Veteran’s Day (in the U.S.), a day to remember and honour those who died while in military service.  I’ll have more about that in a later post today, but I just wanted to mention it here.  Well, toss your coats over there, and grab a nice hot drink and a snack off the table, for I have a couple of cool things to bring smiles to those blue lips this morning!

fruit              autumn-cookiescroissants

Sorry guys, no bacon today!  I forgot to buy any, and I used the last of it last week!


🎈 Happy Birthday Sesame Street!!! 🎈

The anniversary was actually yesterday, November 10th, but since yesterday was Sunday, there was no appropriate venue for me to celebrate, so we are celebrating this event one day late.  Do you know what the event is?  I’ll give you a hint … 1969.  Still don’t know?  Okay, how about this … Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Elmo, Bert & Ernie … NOW you got it?  That’s right, folks, it was fifty years ago yesterday that Sesame Street made its television debut!

The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney’s goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. “Sesame Street” was set in a fictional New York neighborhood and included ethnically diverse characters and positive social messages.  There was Linda, the librarian who taught sign language, and Tarah who taught us about wheelchairs …

Sesame Street taught ABCs and 123s, but also much more … it taught our children about diversity and acceptance, taught them how to deal with tough situations and emotions.  And most important of all, it made learning completely painless and even fun!

They had a foster child character, an HIV-positive character, and once Elmo even testified before Congress! Elmo-CongressWhen Will Lee who played the shopkeeper Mr. Hooper, died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Sesame Street tackled the concept of death …

Well, okay, now I’ve gone and made you cry on Jolly Monday.  But, say ‘Hi’ to the gang over at Sesame Street, wish them a Happy 50th Birthday, and then I promise to make you laugh!Sesame-Street


Big Foot has been STOLEN!

Police in Florida are seeking information on the disappearance of an unusual piece of property — a 300-pound Bigfoot statue.Bigfoot-missing.pngThe Boynton Beach Police Department said the 8-foot-tall Sasquatch statue was stolen from in front of a store called Mattress Monsterz in October.

“Bigfoot is missing,” the department tweeted.


But if you think that’s bad …

In Marysville, Ohio (I used to work at the Honda plant in Marysville!) thieves made off with a roller coaster!!!kiddie-coaster-2The Union County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a white, Dodge Ram with a flatbed that was spotted by a traffic camera taking the roller coaster.coaster-thievesThe roller coaster, which is worth about $50,000, has alligator-themed cars that measure 20 feet in length.

Who the heck steals a roller coaster???  What are they thinking they can do with it … give it to their kids for Christmas?  Set it up in the back yard?  Sheesh.


Campus parking fines payable by … WHAT???

This one caught my eye, and while I expected to find humour, and I did, I also found something kind of nice.  I never had to pay parking fines during my undergrad years, but when I went to grad school, I racked up quite a few.  They were all written off thanks to a couple of kindly profs, but still …

This happened at University of Alaska in Anchorage.  Students can pay outstanding parking fines with donations of peanut butter and jelly for fellow students facing hunger.

“Any nut butter-almond, cashew, peanut butter- or any flavor jam, jelly, marmalade, preserves, etc. will be accepted. All donations must be commercially produced (no home canning), unopened and not expired.”

The jars will be distributed through the UAA Emergency Food Cache at the UAA Student Health and Counseling Center.  Two jars can erase $10 worth of fines, while five jars eliminates $60.

I think that’s really nice, don’t you?


Time for a few ‘toons, don’t you think?toon-1

toon-2

toon-3

toon-4

toon-5

toon-6


And a few cute or funny picturespic-1

pic-2pic-3

pic-funny

I’m sorry guys … I just couldn’t resist!  You know I don’t mean it, right?  Right?  Guys???

pic-funny-2


And that wraps up another …

jolly{pssssst … Gwammie … did ya forget about the aminamal video?}

Oh … Jolly just reminded me … how could I possibly end Jolly Monday without a cute animal video???


jollyOkay, folks, this is really it for this morning, for some of you have jobs (you know, the kind where they pay you to go there and do work?), and others of us have … um … jobs that pay only in the currency of personal satisfaction!  Please, remember to share those lovely smiles with others you see today … speak kindly, for you don’t know what people are dealing with.  Have a great week, dear friends!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

How Have We Lasted This Long?

Remember not long ago, I told you that Popeye’s had come out with a chicken sandwich that was said to be the equal of Chick-Fil-A’s?  I was happy to hear this, for I refuse to set foot in a Chick-Fil-A restaurant because of their overt bigotry, but I did like their chicken sandwiches long ago.  Well, before the girls and I got around to trying Popeye’s new sandwich, it was announced that they were sold out and would have more in the near future, so I rather forgot about it.  Apparently, though, the Popeye’s sandwich is … um … I don’t even know what word to use … controversial?  Worth risking life and limb for?  Just in the past week …

On Monday, the headlines read “Man Is Fatally Stabbed Over Popeyes Chicken Sandwich”, and on Wednesday it was “Driver Damages Own Car Trying To Jump Popeye’s Drive-Thru Line”Popeye-1.jpgThis post is not about those two events specifically, and I won’t waste my time or yours going into detail.  But rather, this post is about the thought that occurred to me upon seeing these two stories:  I wonder how the human species has managed to survive this long?

Ever since humans evolved from their simian cousins, it seems that they have been trying to kill one another, sometimes with cause, but more often for no good reason.  The more laws we make in our effort to establish a ‘civil society’, the more violent we become.  The more we enhance our education systems, the more ignorant we become.  The more we claim to care about others, the less we seem to care.

Part of the problem, of course, is that we don’t know when to stop reproducing.  The population on earth today is roughly 7.7 billion people, which is more than double the number of people on earth in 1972, just 47 years ago.  The amount of land on the planet, however, remains roughly the same, although with rising sea levels it is on the downturn.  The land on the planet is roughly 196.9 million square miles, which translates to .03 square miles per person.  But, of course, some of that is taken up by forests that are critical for the survival of life on earth.  The bottom line is that we cannot continue to double the population on the planet every 50 years and survive!  Maybe China’s ‘one-child’ rule wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

But, there is more to the problem than overpopulation.  I think that technology has a role in the way people treat each other these days, as well.  Mind you, I’m not putting down man-made technology in general … there have been many amazing inventions, as evidenced by the fact that I am sitting in my comfy chair, and within minutes I have discovered the amount of land and the number of people on planet earth without moving more than my fingertips. Then with a few more clicks of the fingertips, I was able to make the calculations I needed.  Now, I am writing words, again with my fingertips, and in a couple of short hours, people across the globe will be reading my words.  Back in 1972, nobody would have believed it possible.

However, in some ways I think that technology has made our lives too easy.  If the Internet died tomorrow, how many high school kids would know how to go to the library and look up the information I just found at my fingertips?  I’m betting very few.  And, technology has put distance between us – not physical distance, but we are emotionally disconnected from others as we text messages on our cell phones, play video games, watch movies, or troll the ‘net.  We have become emotionally isolated, and when we do have the occasion to interact with others, we have little tolerance.

We are easily frustrated by the actions of others.  Going back to the chicken sandwich example … a man was rude and cut in line in front of another, and the other was so frustrated that he pulled out his knife and stabbed the rude man to death.  Is this what we call ‘civilization’?  All species will kill if they feel their lives or the lives of their pack are threatened, but humans are the only species I know that will kill a person because of the colour of his skin, or where his ancestors came from, or because he was in a hurry to buy a sandwich.

At the same time as we are losing more and more of our humanity, we are also failing miserably to take care of the Earth on which our lives, in fact the lives of every living thing, depend.  The human species seems, as it becomes less tolerant toward one another, to either have a death wish or to believe that they are invincible – I’m not sure which it is.

There are those that will say “Well, species come and go, it’s the natural progression of life”.  Not true.  This extinction will be near-total, and it differs from the extinction of other species in the past because this one was completely, entirely avoidable.  Our fate was in our hands all along, yet we chose to take the path of least resistance, the path that gave us the greatest pleasure, but at the highest cost. It is the arrogance of mankind that has led us to the brink of extinction, and as I ponder it, the only real surprise is that humans have survived this long.

A ‘Letter’ From Trump to MAGA’s

These days, we often find ourselves saying, “You have to laugh about it, else you’ll cry”. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written a great bit of satire in the form of a letter from Trump to his ‘fans’, that I think will give you a chuckle … at least until you stop and think about it. Thank you, Jeff, for adding a bit of humour to our day!

On The Fence Voters

A confidential letter from Donald J. Trump to his supporters … P.S, please don’t tell the fake news.

Dear MAGA’s,

Hello everyone. As you know, in a few days we’ll be celebrating the anniversary of the most miraculous day in the history of modern civilization. That’s right. Thanks to all of you and my pal Vladimir, I was elected to serve as your President of the United States of America. Almost instantly, our country went from being the laughing stock of the world, to well, a bigger laughingstock of the world.

Soon though, our calendar will switch to a new year, 2020. And you all know what that means, right? Yes, your favorite little President is running for reelection, and I’m going to need your help again to stave off the radical socialist Democrats. I know I can count on you.

From time to time over the next year, I’m…

View original post 1,184 more words

Yes, We Still Ban Books 📘

This week, 22 September thru 28 September, is Banned Books Week.  According to the American Library Association (ALA) …

banned booksBanned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

And yet … and yet, schools and libraries are still banning books.  Take a look at some that were banned just last year …

  • George by Alex Gino – banned because it features a transgender character
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss – banned for LGBTQ content, political & religious viewpoints
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey – banned because it includes a same-sex couple, and also was felt to ‘encourage disruptive behaviour’

Are you starting to see a pattern here?  How the heck are we ever to break the chain of homophobia if we don’t allow young people to be exposed to the LGBT community???

  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier – banned because it features LGBTQ characters
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – banned because it deals with teen suicide
  • Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner – banned because the lead character, a Siamese cat, ‘depicts cultural stereotypes’
  • This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman – banned because of illustrations of a Pride parade

Good grief.

In 2018, more than half the books that drew complaints did so because they contained LGBTQ content, according to ALA. Other reasons include profanity, sexually explicit content, religious viewpoints and materials that candidly portray injustices and inequality experienced by people of color.

Now, mind you I do understand that there is such a thing as age-appropriate content, and I wouldn’t necessarily want a third-grade child to be reading Mein Kampf.  But, to ban books because they might open a young readers mind to the possibility that there are other acceptable lifestyles and viewpoints besides the ones they are exposed to at home is simply narrow-minded bigotry.

In 2017, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was banned because some felt it would ‘lead to terrorism’ and ‘promote Islam’.  How is that not racist and Islamophobic?  In the same year, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was challenged because of the use of the ‘N-word’.  Heck, when I was 10 years old, I was bedridden for a period of time, and every evening my father would read to me from Catcher in the Rye!!!  I suppose today’s society would be aghast, yes?

banned-booksIn 2016, the Little Bill series written by Bill Cosby was banned because of the sexual allegations against Mr. Cosby … not because of anything in the books, and frankly I have read those books to my granddaughter and it is an excellent series.  But some, it seems, would throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Some that have been banned in year’s past … makes no sense at all …

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein was banned because it was interpreted as being sexist. Some readers believe that the young boy continually takes from the female tree, without ever giving anything in return. As the boy grows up, he always comes back to the tree when he needs something, taking until the tree has nothing left to give him.
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss was banned … this one will really make you roll your eyes … because it was believed to portray logging in a poor light and would turn children against the foresting industry.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak has been challenged numerous times, as it is considered by some “too dark”, and psychologically damaging and traumatizing to young children due to Max’s inability to control his emotions and his punishment of being sent to bed without dinner.

banned booksToday, with the far-right evangelicals attempting to impose their own beliefs on society as a whole … a group that is anti-LGBT, anti-women’s rights, anti-immigrants, anti-everyone-who-is-not-Christian … it is more important than ever that we guard against censorship in our schools and libraries.  Books open pathways in our minds, delight us with the unknown, and teach … teach us about other cultures, other lifestyles.  I find it frightening that some communities would stifle the knowledge and pleasure that is to be found in books of all sorts.  Censorship is just another form of bigotry.

Snarky Snippets Are Baaaack!

It’s been a while since I released a full stream of snarky snippets … been taking it a bit easy, trying to keep the snark at bay, but … well, that only works for so long, y’know.


Say WHAT???

Harry-PotterWhen Miss Goose was young, I read to her the first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (first published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK).  I liked it much better than she did, and I went on to read the next 2 or 3 in the series … by myself.  Although I’ve never been a fan of fantasy fiction, I have to admit they are fun books.  Harmless fun with lovable characters.  But apparently the Catholic Church doesn’t think so.

St. Edward Catholic school in Nashville has removed the Harry Potter books from its library, saying …

“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”

Oh bullcrap!  Yes, that noise you hear is me stomping my feet, not the presence of evil spirits!

According to Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Catholic diocese of Nashville …

“We really don’t get into censorship in such selections other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries are age-appropriate materials for our classrooms.”

Well if this isn’t censorship, lady, then I must not understand the meaning of the word.  I was not aware, but the Harry Potter series has drawn criticism from religious groups before.  In 2001, the pastor of Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico oversaw a book burning of the Potter books, and a local library responded with a dedicated display, telling the public that “Harry is alive and well at the library”.

While he was still a cardinal in 2003, the future Pope Benedict XVI described the books as “subtle seductions which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly”.

Wake up churches … we have entered the 21st century!  Harry Potter books are fun!  They are harmless!  There ain’t no evil spirits planning to descend upon those who read these books!


A veteran speaks …

Last week, a spokesperson for Bozo in the Oval announced that “in certain cases”, children born to U.S. service members or government employees stationed abroad may not automatically be eligible for citizenship under the new Trump rules.

Tammy-DuckworthTammy Duckworth is a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who has served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois since 2017.  While serving in the Iraq War as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, Ms. Duckworth suffered severe combat wounds, which caused her to lose both of her legs and some mobility in her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war. Despite her grievous injuries, she sought and obtained a medical waiver which allowed her to continue serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Senator Duckworth penned a letter to Kevin McAleenan, the acting director of homeland security, stating her objections to the new policy.  Her letter bears reading …

Duckworth-1duckworth-2.pngDuckworth-3What’s next, folks?  Trump claims to love the military, love veterans, but thus far his policies have done nothing positive for them.


Spittin’ in the wind?

I really didn’t set out with the intention of picking on religion tonight … I try hard to bite my tongue where religion is concerned, but at the moment, my tongue is already bleeding.

Florida is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian.  I’ve seen countless pictures of people filling sandbags, boarding windows, helping others move inland, stocking up on supplies, and more.  But, these people …pray-ers

… gathered on the Jacksonville Beach Pier to pray the storm away.  Yes, you heard me right!  They say they are telling the storm to “calm down”.  I put this one right up there with people sending “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting, but then admittedly I am a cynic.  The group says they did the same thing two years ago while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irma.  Did that work well for them?  Well, let’s see …

Hurricane Irma delivered an $85 million hit to the city of Jacksonville, according to the city’s most recent cost estimates.

The biggest share of the total is about $40 million for hauling away all the debris left behind by the storm, followed by $16.6 million for dunes and berms, and $15.3 million for personnel and equipment costs for emergency response operations.

The total financial impact on city government is almost twice the $45 million expense dealt by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

I’m thinking maybe not so much.  And during Irma, they even had the help of some 59,000 people who had the brilliant idea to point fans toward the east and blow the hurricane back out to sea!  Imagine how much worse Irma might have been if she hadn’t been thwarted by all that hot air!fans-Irma

fans-irma-2


Okay … I’m done snarking for tonight.  I’m fairly certain I’ll have more soon, though.  Meanwhile, to all my friends and readers in the path of Hurricane Dorian, please keep safe and let us know you’re okay.  Love you all!

It’s Not About Abortion – It’s About Life

Yesterday, Planned Parenthood announced that it would withdraw from the federal family planning program known as Title X.  The Title X Family Planning program was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies, and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under Trump’s hand-picked Alex Azar, attached a new condition on receiving Title X funding – that the recipients, such as Planned Parenthood, can no longer make abortion referrals.  This, my friends, is nothing more than the federal government attempting to inflict the beliefs of the Christian evangelical community, a vocal minority of the population, on everyone in the nation.  It is an attempt to make religious beliefs into public policy.  It is a huge step away from being the secular nation that we started out to be, that we need to be.

But let’s be clear … while the intent may be to deprive a woman of the right to have an abortion, this is not about abortion.  This is not about whether a woman has a right to decide what is right for her, in some cases having an abortion.  This is about whether a woman has a right to live or not.  Planned Parenthood is not just about helping a woman get an abortion, and in fact that is a very small percentage of what they do.

planned-parenthood-servicesAs you can see, money spent on providing abortions is a mere 3% of their total, AND … NO FEDERAL MONIES are spent on abortion.  Now, look at some of the other things they do …

  • STD and HIV testing and treatment
  • Birth control
  • Screening for reproductive cancers (like breast, cervical, testicular, and prostate cancers)
  • Pap tests and well woman exams
  • Vaccines
  • PrEP and PEP (medicines to help prevent HIV)
  • Pregnancy services and prenatal care
  • Transgender health services, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Vasectomy and other sterilization services
  • Condoms

Planned Parenthood saves lives.  In many rural areas, they are the only provider of the above services that may save a woman’s life.  Or a man’s, for you may note they also do screening for testicular and prostate cancers.  They provide prenatal care … the anti-abortion group might do well to consider that they are robbing that fetus they care so much about of such things as the vitamins to ensure they are healthy, and regular screenings to detect any potential problems that might be avoided with timely treatment.

Evangelicals have been calling for the government to ‘de-fund’ Planned Parenthood for decades, but instead of de-funding it, the government set a criteria that they could no longer make abortion referrals.  Planned Parenthood said, in essence, “Okay, keep your money then … for there are times that a woman’s life and health depend on abortion.”

There’s a certain irony here, too, that a large portion of what Planned Parenthood does involves birth control and family planning education, both of which significantly lower the need for abortions, and yet those who claim to be “pro-life” are depriving women of those services as well.

I do not applaud Planned Parenthood’s decision, but I do support it … it was the right thing for them to do.  However, I do not support the government’s imposition of the criteria, I do not support the evangelicals who coerced the government into setting the criteria.  Those evangelicals call themselves “pro-life”, but they are not.  They are not considering the lives of the thousands of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, annual checkups, family planning services, and much more.

There will be backlash over this.  I do not know what the end result will be, but somehow, we must continue to fund Planned Parenthood.  They do not provide abortions with Title X funds, but only with private funding.  They provide a tremendous service to women, they save lives of both babies and mothers, and they are an integral part of women’s healthcare, especially among lower income women.

I came across a short video on Scottie’s Toybox that I think explains the issue quite well … please take a minute or two … well, actually 7 minutes, but it is well worth the time spent.

Are we going to be held hostage in other areas by the evangelicals?  Are we going to let them dictate, for example, that there must be mandatory religious classes in schools?  Are we going to let them tell us that it is okay for employers to discriminate against LGBT people?  The United States is, appropriately, a secular nation, not as some would believe, a Christian nation.  Twenty-five percent, fully one-fourth of this nation are non-Christians.  We are Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists and agnostics.  We have a voice, too.  We pay taxes, too.  We contribute our skills and ideas as much as any.  And 50.52% of this nation are women.  We pay taxes and have a voice, too.

Abortion is not the root of all evil.  Often a woman has an abortion because she is unable to provide for her child.  The world is already over-populated and the last thing we need are more hungry mouths to feed.  Those same people who call for an end to all abortions, also fight against their tax dollars going to help feed and shelter those children once they are born.  Pro-life???  I don’t think so … just anti-women.  If you ever doubted that it’s still a man’s world, doubt no more.mans world

Good People Doing Good Things — Dale Schroeder

Today’s ‘good people’ post is a bit shorter than usual, because … Filosofa forgot that it was Wednesday, and last night I spent a few hours preparing what I thought would be this morning’s post.  And then, as I was setting it up on the schedule for 3:00 a.m., I saw the calendar and … oh sh*t … it’s Wednesday!  I considered going with my original post, making my apologies, and doing the good people post later, or tomorrow, but … I know you guys count on it and in today’s environment, we all need to be reminded of the humanitarians who walk amongst us.  So, it is a bit short, but it is heartwarming, I promise you!


Dale-SchroederDale Schroeder lived his entire live in Ames, Iowa.  He was, as his friend Steve Nielsen described him, “… that kind of a blue-collar, lunch-pail kind of a guy. Went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans.”  Mr. Schroeder grew up poor, never married and worked as a carpenter for 67 years at the same Des Moines business.  Just your average Joe … or Dale.

Now, Steve Nielsen was a friend, but it also happens that he is an attorney.  One day near the end of Dale’s life, he popped into Mr. Nielsen’s law office and wanted to talk about his will.

“I never got the opportunity to go to college. So, I’d like to help kids go to college.”

When Nielsen asked Dale …

“How much are we talking about, Dale?”

The answer stunned Nielsen, who says he nearly fell out of his chair …

“Oh, just shy of $3 million.”

When Mr. Schroeder died in 2005, he owned two pair of jeans – church jeans and work jeans – and a rusted Chevy pickup truck.  But Mr. Schroeder left a legacy that will live forever, for because of him, 33 people were able to go to college and come out debt-free!Dale-Schroeder-2.pngYou may wonder why I am writing about this now, some 14 years after Dale’s death, but I have my reasons.  This month, the group of 33 who have dubbed themselves “Dale’s kids” got together to honor the man who changed their lives. They’re now doctors, teachers, therapists — and friends.

There’s just one thing Schroeder asked for in return. “All we ask is that you pay it forward,” Nielsen said. “You can’t pay it back, because Dale is gone, but you can remember him and you can emulate him.”

One such recipient, Kira Conrad, tells her story …

“I grew up in a single parent household and I had three older sisters, so paying for all four of us was never an option.”

Y’know, folks, to most of today’s politicians or wealthy industrialists, $3 million is a drop in their bucket, probably not even worth losing a night’s sleep.  But to Dale, it represented two things:  a life lived frugally, without all the toys and gadgets that we think we simply cannot live without, and an opportunity to give of himself to others, to give others a chance to do what he was never able to do.  I have stated before that I don’t have much use for millionaires and billionaires, but if they were all like Dale, used their money for the betterment of people … what a wonderful world it could be.

Good People Doing Good Things — Lots of ‘Em

This week, the focus is on everyday people doing things that help others in one way or another.  It’s nice to report on those people who are making mega-differences in people’s lives, but sometimes it’s just as meaningful to look at the everyday folks who are doing what is within their power to make a difference.  Sometime, the opportunity to be a ‘good people’ just drops in your lap, as you’ll see in the last story.


Mohan-3Mohan Sudabattula, a 23-year-old student, along with his team of volunteers collect medical equipment from thrift stores and donations. They clean up the gear, which ranges from slings and braces to wheelchairs and walkers, and then send it to disadvantaged medical facilities around the world.Mohan-1.pngSudabattula thought of this idea when he was in school and volunteering in the prosthetics department at a nearby hospital. Whenever a patient outgrew a prosthetic, it would simply be thrown in the garbage. While prosthetics are designed exclusively for the wearer, Mohan wondered if he could recycle other medical equipment and give it a new life.Mohan-2Back in 2006, he went to India with his parents, and while at an orphanage he saw children creating makeshift crutches and wheelchairs out of everyday objects. Now, over ten years later, he was able to donate several dozen wheelchairs and crutches to that very same orphanage because of the work he is doing with Project Embrace.

Since launching the nonprofit in 2016, the group has donated over 900 refurbished medical devices to low-income hospitals in the U.S. and India.


Simon Child works in the very McDonalds in Fayetteville, Florida that he was caught sleeping in. When a woman in the community saw Child asleep in a booth, she photographed him and posted the picture on Facebook, apparently hoping to mock or shame him.Simon-1.jpegThe post had the opposite effect the woman was hoping for, as everyone in the community rallied around the homeless worker. They learned that Child had a child of his own and was working tirelessly to support them both after the death of his mother.Simon-2.jpgNews spread, and soon the entire community was pitching in to help Simon. He got a free haircut from a local barbershop to help him look more professional. A local eatery lent him a car for job interviews. One member even offered to put Child and his son up in a hotel until they found a permanent residence.Simon-3.pngMembers also donated food, clothes, diapers, and more to help the struggling father. They even raised $2,000 for Child to get a life start. As for the woman, Child says he harbors no ill will towards her because, without her post, the community would have never known.


Rita-1Riya Hariharan (16, Palo Alto, California) is the founder Giftkids.net, a global organization that provides critically needed educational and wellness supplies for kids who are orphans around the world with the goal to motivate the kids to stay in school, be well, and change the trajectory of their future.  Through her organization, Riya is helping two severely under-resourced schools, in Haiti and India.

In India, Riya supports an orphanage of children who are primarily from the historically most oppressed (Dalit) community and come from a variety of backgrounds … single mothers, parents unable to provide basic care and mostly children who are orphans. Kids need to walk a good distance to school through the somewhat harsh climates in Bidar – from cold winters to the heavy southwest monsoon. ​ Giftkids shipped colorful sweaters to them in time for the Indian holiday of Diwali.rita-india.pngIn Haiti, the remedial school she helps is comprised of enthusiastic kids who struggle with reading and are first-generation learners. They attend this free school with the hope to be able to attend high school someday. However the kids are often absent in class because they do not have proper shoes to walk the distance to school. ​In 2017, Giftkids shipped new sneakers to them in time for their pre-Kanaval celebration in January.riya-haiti.pngIn the two years since its start, Giftkids today has helped over 100 kids in need in Haiti, India, and San Jose, California.


This last story is a really small thing, but it struck a chord with me, and I think speaks volumes about this man.

Tim Crowley and some buddies were hanging out in Tim’s backyard last weekend, and there was a fair amount of drinking going on when all of a sudden, a baby bird fell out of the sky!  The bird needed help, so Tim, still with some of his wits about him, called the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah and sent them a picture of the bird.Petey-1The staff at the Center told Tim to bring the baby bird on in, but there was one problem:  nobody in the group was sober enough to drive!  So, after some thought and debate, they called for an Uber!  The first Uber driver refused, so they didn’t tell the next driver who the passenger would be, and she gladly delivered the little birdie to the Wildlife Center.Petey-2The staff at the center named the little guy, fittingly, Petey Uber, and they say it is unlikely he would have survived without intervention.  Tim Crowley … the man paid for an Uber to save the life of one little birdie!  Doesn’t that bring a lump to your throat?  How many people do you know who would have done the same?

Petey is reportedly doing fine and will be released into the wild when he is able to survive on his own.  Thanks to Tim Crowley!


And that’s a wrap for today, folks!  If any of you run across a ‘good people’, feel free to send me a link or story, and I will consider it for inclusion in the good people posts!  Meanwhile, let’s all try to be a good people, even if only in a small way.

Good People Doing Good Things — Curtis Jenkins!

These days more than ever, we need to be reminded of all the good people, people who are giving of themselves to do good for others.  They aren’t hard to find … you sometimes just have to sift through all the noise to find these people quietly going about the business of … being good people.  Today, I would like you to meet a school bus driver for Lake Highlands Elementary school in Dallas, Texas.  His name is Curtis Jenkins and his story is heartwarming … Gronda, get your tissues.Curtis-Jenkins.jpegUp until eight years ago, Curtis owned his own plumbing and electrical company.  Then, his mother became ill and he needed greater flexibility in order to take her to and from appointments, so he sold his business and took a job with the Richardson Independent School District (RISD) driving a school bus.  And it was there he found his passion in life … the kids.

Jenkins makes the trip to and from school fun!  He has created a community inside bus No. 1693. Students apply for their ‘jobs’ and earn “bus bucks” that Jenkins designed himself. Children who don’t work receive a weekly stipend ($5 bus bucks), but they’re taxed $2.  Only recently, he added another wrinkle … each working child contributes one of their bus bucks to help those who aren’t working.  At the end of the week, bus bucks can be redeemed for needed school supplies (purchased by Curtis). Among the ‘jobs’ are sheriff, police officer, banker, administrative assistant, and translator.

bus-bucks.jpg

Students are fined when they break Jenkins’ rules, which are centered around respect and compassion.

“I’m teaching love. If you don’t love, it might cost you some things.”

It’s no classroom, but Jenkins plans daily lessons that he worries are otherwise neglected. He shows students how to fly paper airplanes and tie a tie, among other useful life skills.

“I want to put imagination back in children without desensitizing them.”

Students campaigned for bus president in March and were tasked with creating a budget to add more jobs. But multiplication is tricky. So is public speaking, which is why one fifth-grader dropped out of the race.  A second-grader, trying to offer him words of encouragement, said …

“Look, all you need to say is some fancy words, and something that’s going to make everyone excited or something. Then they’re going to choose you. It’s not that hard.” (I can’t imagine where the kid learned that lesson?)

But Curtis Jenkins’ acts of kindness go much further than that.  He makes each child on his bus a special card on their birthdays, and he and his wife, Shaneqia, purchase turkeys for some of the kids’ families at Thanksgiving.  At Easter, he and Shaneqia put together special Easter bags for the kids.  It’s the little things that mean so much.

Every morning when he arrives at school with his young charges, he gives a brief talk from the front of the bus with advice like, “Walk with a purpose until you walk into your purpose. Everybody deserves a chance. No matter the odds, don’t ever count anyone out — including yourself.”  The kids love him.  One parent reported recently that her child is excited to get up and come to school because he knows Jenkins will be there to greet him each morning at the bus stop.  Another child said …

“My mom got divorced when I was only 4. He’s the father that I always wanted. In some ways, I wish my dad could have been like that.”

Until last December, Curtis had gone quietly about the business of being a bus driver, mentor, helper, with few outside the school noticing.  That all changed the week of Christmas, however, when he and Shaneqia decided not to buy Christmas gifts for each other, but instead to spend the money on gifts for the children.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, he got the kids talking about what they hoped to get for Christmas, and Curtis made mental notes.  In the end, he and Shaneqia ended up also spending the money they had put back for a second honeymoon … they felt this was more important. One of his fellow bus drivers and a parent also chipped in once they discovered what he was doing.

giftsgifts-2

A teacher took a picture of Curtis standing before his gift-laden bus and the school posted it on Facebook as a way to thank Curtis for going above and beyond the call of duty. The photo and accompanying story went viral.  The post was be shared 13,500 times and his story ran across media outlets in 20 countries, all within 48 hours!  HuffPost and even Breitbart picked up the story, as did CBS and NBC.

Jenkins wasn’t prepared for the nonprofits who claimed they donated to him, even though they hadn’t. A company is turning a profit by sending thank you cards to him on behalf of their customers. His daughter wasn’t ready for the 2,000 Instagram followers who flooded her inbox in search of her dad’s contact information. Jenkins didn’t expect to buy a P.O. box or hire a lawyer to establish a nonprofit.

But that is what, after giving it much thought, he did.

“If I have a platform now, why not use it?”

Jenkins’ nonprofit, Magnifying Caring and Change, is still in the development stages, but will be an extension of what he does for the students on his bus. He partnered with Cozy Coats for Kids to buy jackets for students. His hope is that one day he’ll have a community center for them after school.

“Just take the time to look at yourselves and think, if you were in another position than what you are in right now, how do you want somebody to treat you. I’m not rich at all. But I plan to one day be a blessing to people in need. We need these kids to know they have potential — they are like little apprentices. One day they will be the leaders when we aren’t around.”

Wise words from a wise, kind, and compassionate man.  Two thumbs up to Mr. Curtis Jenkins!

thumbs