Good People Doing Good Things — Vincent Dadzie

Today’s good people post is shorter than usual, not because I couldn’t find any, but because my own heart is lacking today, burdened by a number of things.  I apologize in advance, but it is 2:00 a.m. and I’ve been struggling to write this post for about 4-5 hours, with no success.  However, I know how much we all need to see these ‘good people’ to help restore our faith in humanity, and just as I was about to give it up, a voice in my head said, “You owe it to them.  You have a responsibility.”  And so, I dug around a bit, put my own ill-humour on hold for a while and gave it one more try.

Meet Vincent Dadzie …

Vincent-Dadzie.jpg

Vincent is 24 years of age and lives in Tamale, Ghana.  He is also the co-founder of an organization, Motivation2Learn, which he established to end school dropouts and help students find their feet in life.

Vincent conducted research and found on USAID – Ghana (U.S. Aid for International Development) that 91% of children in Ghana enroll in primary school. Out of this, only 16% graduate with a University degree. The question he asked was “what happens to the other 75%?”  The school dropout rate is very high among students in targeted areas because many young people do not have regular motivation.  At the same time, learning challenges and poor academic performance expose most students to depression, low self-esteem, and stress. Students in these conditions normally don’t get proper counseling.students-3.jpgMotivation2Learn engages Ghanaian students by changing their mind-sets through motivational talks and exposing them to opportunities. His talks enable students to be able to catch up with everyday challenges from all angles. Students learn how to set and meet their goals, raise their academic standards, seize opportunities, be masters in emotion, relationships, finance, and time management, besides attaining knowledge in their desired profession.

He organizes and delivers motivational talks to an average number of 350 students every week in one of the selected 50 Senior and Junior High schools in their first year of operation in the Northern Region. His team searches for at least five educative programs and opportunities, exposing them to students, and guiding students to take full advantage of them. His team gives professional advice and assistance to students to successfully apply for available opportunities.  As a change agent, Vincent strives to make a change and affect lives in any way possible.

Angela FanseyAngela Fansey is the other co-founder of Motivation2Learn and is providing an administrative and communication support for the organization. She is responsible for the overall development, expansion, integration and implementation of Motivation2Learn’s program strategy.

Vincent holds a degree in Bachelor of Education, Accounting and Economics from the University of Cape Coast, and Angela holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana, Legon.  Now, think about it … these two young people could have entered the business world and made quite a bit of money … perhaps even become millionaires.  Instead, they decided to give back to the young people of their nation.students-2.jpgGhana is considered an economically deprived nation, with a GDP per capita of only $2500.  Compare that to the U.S. with $59,532 in the U.S., and you get a sense of just how poor Ghana is.  The answer is educated young people who can make a difference, and Vincent & Angela are doing their best to help make that goal a reality.  For them, the future is more meaningful than their own riches.  We damn sure need more people like them in this world, yes?

Filosofa’s BIG Announcement!

Okay, folks … here is my big announcement:

I’ve decided to run for President of the United States in November 2020! 

Um … don’t everybody wear your hands out applauding now … well, a little bit of applause might be nice … okay, I’ll settle for those few chuckles I heard.

Now, I can’t afford a huge campaign, and I will NOT take a single dime from any business or lobbying interest, so that puts me at a disadvantage before I even get to the gate. However, I do have a few advantages over the rest of the pack, but I’ll get to those in a minute.

First, a few of my highest priorities:

  • Environmental
    • The United States will immediately, the day after I take office, rejoin the Paris Accord
    • All regulations on the fossil fuel and auto industries that were revoked by my predecessor will immediately be re-instated
    • I will petition Congress for emergency funding to re-build the Environmental Protection Agency and will nominate a conscientious person as director of that agency
    • We will enhance our renewable energy resources and provide incentives for companies to develop new sustainable energy sources
  • Constitutional Issues
    • I will support freedom of the press to the fullest, even when I don’t like what they say about me – the free press is our only hope for remaining a free people
    • Separation of church and state will be the law. There is no place for religion in government, and this government will support no particular religion over another
    • I will petition Congress for a ban on all assault weapons, and for expanded background checks, as well as training and licensing in order to obtain any sort of firearm
  • Education
    • All funding for the Department of Education will go toward public schools where all children will be treated equally; taxpayer money will NOT be used for ‘charter’ schools that benefit only the few
    • I will propose that Congress introduce legislation to provide free college tuition for a minimum of two years to all students whose annual family income falls below $100,000
    • School curriculums will be evaluated and re-designed as necessary in order to provide students with a well-balanced education that includes both career training and a liberal arts education
    • Religion will not be taught in public schools. Parents who wish their children to obtain religious training may send their children to religious schools at their own expense
  • Health Care
    • No person in the country will be without affordable healthcare. Most will pay according to their ability to pay, without such payment placing undo hardship.  Those who cannot afford to pay will receive free healthcare
    • There will be an ad hoc committee to study prescription drug costs and appropriate caps will be put on all pharmaceuticals
  • Taxation
    • The tax brackets will be expanded for those earning over $100,000 per year. Those whose net worth is $1 million or more will fall into the highest income tax brackets, to be determined before year end
  • Economy
    • Unfettered capitalism will cease to exist. My administration will place a higher value on human life than on GDP
    • The Chairman of the Federal Reserve will decide at what point it is prudent to raise or lower interest rates without coercion from myself or others. This is not a political agency, but one based on the best interest of the nation
    • We will aim for a balanced budget, or at least reduce the deficit by 20% each year, and will not increase the national debt beyond its current levels
  • International Relations
    • We will begin re-building trust among our allies in whatever way possible
    • We will hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the brutal murder of our journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year by severing any arms agreements, and imposing other sanctions as seen fit
    • There will be NO wall on our border

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but merely the top bullet points of my platform.  Now, what do I bring to the table, since it damn sure isn’t money or fame?

Honesty and integrity, for starters.  I will take not a single dime from any organization that seeks special favours or sees their donation as creating an obligation.  I will not lie … if I cannot tell you something, I will simply say that I cannot discuss it, but I will not lie or over-inflate my achievements.  I will demand the same from any cabinet members that I select.

Compassion and humanity.  I will put the people of this nation … all the people … ahead of profit.  One thing this means is that I will never demean or mock another human being.  We’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime.  I will not tolerate bigotry in any form. The emphasis of this government will be people, not weapons of war, not profit for the biggest corporations, but the well-being of people.

Literacy.  Unlike my predecessor, I have studied politics and history all my life, hold a B.S. in both Accounting and Political Science, and an M.A. in International Relations.  I have read the U.S. Constitution at least 50 times in the past 30 years and have taken a number of classes in Constitutional Law.  I have studied past presidents.  And I can write more than 5 words without a spelling error.  In other words, I know the difference between ‘origins’ and ‘oranges’.

Common Sense.  I am smart enough to realize that there are many, many things I will not know, but unlike my predecessor, I am willing to seek the advice of those who do know those things.  I am also smart enough to realize that sometimes we all make mistakes, but the important thing is to admit those mistakes, then take steps to rectify the errors.  This I will do.

And that, my friends, is all I have to offer.  Now all I have to do is find a running mate who shares my values and vision.  Any takers?

Good People Doing Good Things — Peter Tabichi

Peter TabichiI would like to introduce you to Peter Tabichi.  Peter is a Kenyan science teacher and Franciscan friar at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village in a remote part of Kenya’s Rift Valley.  More than 90% of his pupils are from poor families and almost a third are orphans or have only one parent. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common. Students have to walk 4 miles along roads that can become impassable in the rainy season to reach the school and the area can be affected by drought and famine. RiftValleyMany of Mr. Tabichi’s students would not be able to attend school, if it weren’t for the fact that he gives 80% of his salary to help support the students.  That, in itself, is remarkable, but that isn’t all he does.

Despite only having one computer, a poor internet connection and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1, Tabichi started a “talent nurturing club” and expanded the school’s science club, helping pupils design research projects of such quality that many now qualify for national competitions.  His students have taken part in international science competitions and won an award from the Royal Society of Chemistry after harnessing local plant life to generate electricity.

Tabichi and four colleagues also give struggling pupils one-to-one tutoring in math and science, visiting students’ homes and meeting their families to identify the challenges they face.  Enrollment at the school has doubled to 400 over three years and girls’ achievement in particular has been boosted.  Take four minutes, if you will, to see Mr. Tabichi in action.

Last week Mr. Tabichi was honoured at a ceremony in Dubai where he was awarded the Varkey Foundation 2019 Global Teacher Prize and a check for $1 million!  The Global Teacher Prize is intended to raise the status of the teaching profession. The winner is selected by committees comprised of teachers, journalists, officials, entrepreneurs, business leaders and scientists. The 2019 competition included 10,000 nominations from 179 countries. The founder of the prize, Sunny Varkey, said he hopes Tabichi’s story “will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over Kenya and throughout the world every day”.Peter Tabichi awardAccepting the prize, Tabichi said:

“I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything. As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people – their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief. Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story. It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time.”

The Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, said in a video message:

Uhuru Kenyatta“Peter – your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent. Your students have shown that they can compete amongst the best in the world in science, technology and all fields of human endeavour.”

Upon his return to Kenya, he was given the royal treatment by local officials, fellow teachers and students who through songs praised him for his humility and selflessness.  At the school, he was cheered through songs and dances by relatives, local community and students.

Tabichi homecomingWhat do you suppose Mr. Tabichi plans to do with the prize money?  You got it!  He plans to use “much more than 80 percent” of his prize money in educating the needy bright students and empowering the local community to become resilient to effects of drought.

“My focus is not going to be just the children but help the community adapt to climate change. I will be helping them adopt a model of growing drought-tolerant crops in kitchen gardens.”

Tabichi sign.jpgI am in awe of this man and what he is doing, and give him a two thumbs up!

thumbs

They Just Keep Coming … Snarky Snippets

While I’ve always been known for having a quick comeback, and rarely at a loss for words, sometimes snarky, acerbic words, I have never in all my life had as much cynicism and snarkiness bubbling from my being as I do these days!  I hope you aren’t tiring yet of snarky snippets, for they just keep rolling right off my fingertips!  Whatever will I do if things ever return to a semi-normal state in this world?sarcasm-quote-1


Surely you jest!

This morning, when I opened The Washington Post’s website, the first headline I saw was this:

With social program fights, some in GOP fear being seen as the party of the 1 percent

And I darn near choked on my coffee!  “Seen as the party of the 1 percent”?  No, they are the party of the 1%!

“A spate of policy moves in recent weeks by Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials has driven the party’s agenda hard to the right, giving new fodder to Democratic presidential candidates eager to shift the national debate to such issues as health care and jobs ahead of the 2020 election.

The administration’s budget released this month, for example, includes massive rollbacks of programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance, as well as cuts to the Special Olympics, Meals on Wheels, and programs related to autism and other developmental disabilities.

The policy blitz reflects the deeply conservative agenda at the core of Trump’s administration. It is led by many influential aides and appointees who are unflinching ideologues, even as Trump prefers to call himself a “nationalist” or a businessman with “common sense.”

Coupled with fallout from the 35-day government shutdown that ended in January and a GOP tax plan that delivered major benefits to the wealthy, Republicans once again find themselves on the defensive — fending off Democrats who say they’re not just the party of Trump but also of the rich and powerful.”

class-systemThus far, ever since 2010, I have not seen so much as an ounce of compassion for those who are, shall we say, less than wealthy, from the Republican Party.  I think that what Bill O’Reilly said after the Las Vegas massacre speaks their motto best:  “This is the price of freedom.” No, republicans, this is the price for letting a bunch of greedy, wealthy old men run the country.


Who does he think he is???

Did you hear that Trump wants The Washington Post and the New York Times to have their Pulitzer prizes rescinded?  Why?  Because the joint prize was awarded for their coverage of the Mueller investigation.  Ahem. Who does he think he is and in what country does he think he is living?  Would one of his staff please slap his face a few times and wake him up?

“So funny that The New York Times & The Washington Post got a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage (100% NEGATIVE and FAKE!) of Collusion with Russia – And there was No Collusion! So, they were either duped or corrupt? In any event, their prizes should be taken away by the Committee!”

fascism.jpgThe New York Times’ communications team tweeted: “We’re proud of our Pulitzer-prize winning reporting on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Every @nytimes article cited has proven accurate.”

Don Junior re-tweeted Trump’s tweet … of course … he is naught but a parrot.


NEVER another Trump in the White House!!!

Kushner IncSpeaking of Junior … a new book was published two weeks ago by British-born author Vicky Ward, titled Kushner, Inc., about Jared and Ivanka’s “rise to power”.  I have not read the book, nor am I likely to, but one thing I found interesting in the synopsis I read is that Junior and Ivanka are in a bit of a dispute … over which will be the next Trump in the White House.  I was horrified!  One Trump in the White House has been one too many!  NEVER AGAIN!!! 

According to the summary of the book …

“Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are the self-styled Prince and Princess of America. Their swift, gilded rise to extraordinary power in Donald Trump’s White House is unprecedented and dangerous. In Kushner, Inc., investigative journalist Vicky Ward digs beneath the myth the couple has created, depicting themselves as the voices of reason in an otherwise crazy presidency, and reveals that Jared and Ivanka are not just the President’s chief enablers: they, like him, appear disdainful of rules, of laws, and of ethics. They are entitled inheritors of the worst kind; their combination of ignorance, arrogance, and an insatiable lust for power has caused havoc all over the world, and may threaten the democracy of the United States.jared-ivankaWard follows their trajectory from New Jersey and New York City to the White House, where the couple’s many forays into policy-making and national security have mocked long-standing U.S. policy and protocol. They have pursued an agenda that could increase their wealth while their actions have mostly gone unchecked. In Kushner, Inc., Ward holds Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump accountable: she unveils the couple’s self-serving transactional motivations and how those have propelled them into the highest levels of the US government where no one, the President included, has been able to stop them.”

Go figure.


Betsy, Betsy, Betsy … 🙄

Ms. DeVos may have been thrown under the bus regarding her budget line that would have de-funded the Special Olympics, but that doesn’t stop her from coming up with still more really ridiculous ideas.  The latest?  She has decided, contrary to decades of study and data, that a higher student-to-teacher ratio (ie., larger classes, fewer teachers) is actually better for students.  But then, remember, this is the same woman who long ago advocated guns in classrooms in case of a bear attack!

“There is no evidence that the Federal taxpayer investments in existing professional development programs or class-size reduction have meaningfully improved student outcomes. In fact, students may be better served by being in larger classes, if by hiring fewer teachers, a district or state can better compensate those who have demonstrated high ability and outstanding results.”

When asked where she got that information, DeVos was unable to cite any research or study.  Take a look for yourself

And THIS is the Secretary of Education???  Seriously???  Oh my aching head.


Okay folks, I’ve taken up enough of your weekend, so I now return you to your regularly scheduled … or preferably spontaneous … weekend activities!  Have fun!

Betsy DeVos As Cruella DeVille

Trump and his minions surely do know how to win friends and influence people, don’t they?  The latest slap in the face by the current bunch came from Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, who has decided she would like to end the Special Olympics!

Special Olympics in the U.S. began in the 1950s and early 1960s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unjustly and unfairly people with intellectual disabilities were treated. She also saw that many children with intellectual disabilities didn’t even have a place to play. She decided to take action.Eunice-Shriver-Special-OlympicsSoon, Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s vision began to take shape. She held a summer day camp for young people with intellectual disabilities in her own backyard. The goal was to learn what these children could do in sports and other activities – and not dwell on what they could not do.

Throughout the 1960s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver continued her pioneering work. She was the driving force behind President John F. Kennedy’s White House panel on people with ID. She directed the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. Her vision and drive for justice grew into the Special Olympics movement.

Special-olympics-1

For the first time in history, people with intellectual disabilities were placed on a podium and publicly rewarded in recognition of their athletic abilities.  Courtesy Special Olympics

The first Special Olympics hosted 1,000 athletes from the U.S. and Canada. In the years that followed, the event achieved greater recognition from the Olympic Committee and from athletes and advocates around the world, and it expanded to include winter events as well. By 2006, by the sponsoring organization’s official count, there were 2.5 million participating Special Olympics athletes worldwide.specialy-olympics-2The proposal to cut all funding for the Special Olympics came as a part of DeVos’ budget proposal that would cut $8.5 billion, or about 12%, from the department’s budget.  What makes anybody in their right mind think that cutting funds from education is a good idea???  This country has been slipping in the worldwide rankings for education for years now, and ol’ Betsy wants to cut it more?

In addition to eliminating the Special Olympics program, other programs to be cut would be after-school activities for children in impoverished communities, as well as a grant program for textbooks, equipment, counseling services and other needs for schools, as well as school safety efforts, including mental-health services and safety equipment.

Note, however, that her budget proposal does include $5 billion to help children attend private schools. She refers to the initiative as “education freedom.”  The proposal would give individuals and corporations a 100 percent tax credit for contributions to state-sanctioned scholarship funds, meaning that donors could get back their entire donation through federal taxes. The money would be given to students to help pay tuition at private schools and other expenses.

Betsy DeVosSo, let’s put this in context.  Children with disabilities do not matter.  Children from families who are not wealthy do not matter.  The safety of our children does not matter.  Education in the United States, under the Trump administration, under the uber-wealthy Betsy DeVos, is for the children of already-privileged, wealthy families.

Fortunately, DeVos’ budget proposal is likely to be shredded in Congress and Betsy will be told to go back to the drawing board and try again.  Some comments from members of Congress:

“Cuts to autism funding and ending all for @SpecialOlympics is outrageous. When I was chair of the House Budget Cmte, we worked to balance the budget & these types of programs were off limits – for good reason. Hope ldrs in DC stop this ridiculous proposal.” – John Kasich, former Governor of Ohio

“I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget. It’s appalling.” – Barbara Lee, U.S. Representative from California

“I believe this budget is cruel, and I believe it is reckless. I really am left with a very serious question for you: How can you support this budget? I mean that genuinely.” – Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Representative from Connecticut, and Chairperson of the education subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee

special-olympicsAlso fortunately, the Special Olympics in the U.S. do not depend entirely on funding by the Department of Education, but losing federal funding would certainly deal a blow to the program.  The bigger picture is that Ms. DeVos – the entire Trump administration – obviously views education as a ‘privilege’ for only the wealthy.  Since when was it decided that children who, simply by luck of the draw, were born into families with lots of money, had more value than others?

It should be noted that DeVos and her husband’s net worth is estimated at $5.5 billion. Pick on someone your own size, Betsy DeVos!

 

Pete Buttigieg: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 6th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for president next year. Pete Buttigieg is on deck today, and he is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Buttigieg!

Political⚡Charge

buttigieg Pete Buttigieg; Photo by Yuri Gripas, Reuters

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified…

View original post 2,041 more words

Last Week Today

I was reminded that I didn’t do a post with ‘toons last week, so consider this to be last week’s post this week.  Rather like the title of John Oliver’s show, Last Week Tonight.  Much was in the news this week, but the cartoonists grabbed one topic as their central focus … the college admissions scandal.

collegecollege-1college-2Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190314.tifcollege-4college-5college-6college-7college-8college-9

Then there was Trump’s ludicrous budget proposal …

budgetbudget-2budget-3Federal budget

The tragedy of immigrant children, separated from their parents and kept in ‘detention centers’ …

immigrantimmigrant-2Bruce Plante Cartoon: DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

And a few just about Trump and his circus act …

Reduced sentence

TrumpA Trump embraceTrump-3Trump-4Trump-5Wall

Have a great week!

A New Batch of Snarky Snippets …

There was much big news this past week, mostly the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the two mosque shootings in New Zealand and add to that Trump’s veto of the bipartisan bills to halt his emergency declaration and his frequent Twitter rants.  So, smaller stories may have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Now that I have caught my breath, I’ve caught up on email and would like to bring you some of those little stories, along with, of course, my snarky commentary.


Kellyanne speaks … sort of

Just as Trump shuns our friends, nations that have long earned our respect, and panders to dictators who have by no means earned our respect, he shuns the legitimate press and panders to the likes of Fox, Breitbart and even Alex Jones.  Thursday, he gave an interview to Breitbart, and here is a snippet of what he said …

“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

Oooohhh … tough talk from a wuss who cries every time somebody says something negative about him!  But then, the next day, America’s #1 bimbo, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on CNN for a segment with Chris Cuomo.  Cuomo mentioned Trump’s remark and asked Kellyanne if she really thought that was appropriate speech for a world leader, given that it sounds more like something Don Corleone would have said.  Kellyanne’s response?

“You’re just reading into it like you usually do. He was talking about how peaceful and gentle many people are who are otherwise tough.  Christopher, he didn’t threaten and he’s not threatening violence.”

Cuomo gave up on that one and moved to another topic.  In a Wednesday interview, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said that morals don’t matter much when it comes to presidents.  Cuomo played that clip for Kellyanne, and mentioned, as a lead-in to a question, that the Republican Party once had a mantra, “character counts”.  Before he could get to the question, Kellyanne burst forth with …

“I’m sorry is there a question lurking in there or are you pontificating? Because you invited me on here to answer questions.”

The entire interview was ridiculous, but good for a few laughs if you have the stomach for it and ten minutes to spare.


A real shocker!

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was attending a vigil for victims of Friday’s massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, when she was confronted by a student who seemingly blamed her for the massacre.

“This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world. And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep down inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

Clinton handled the situation with remarkable aplomb …

“Certainly, it was never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.”

But here is the strangest thing of all.  Somebody you would least expect came to her defense.  Take a guess … a wild guess.  Give up?  It was Don Trump, Jr.!

“It’s sickening to see people blame @ChelseaClinton for the NZ attacks because she spoke out against anti-Semitism. We should all be condemning anti-Semitism & all forms of hate. Chelsea should be praised for speaking up. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is part of the problem.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather!


Thumbs-up x2 for New Zealand’s good sense …

In the wake of Friday’s mosque shootings, a few people have said some really, really ignorant and cruel things.  One of those people was none other than radical Milo Yiannopoulos, who is apparently trying to set a record for being uninvited to the most places.  Yiannopoulos was scheduled to visit Australia and had just been issued a visa over the objections of the home affairs department.

But then, in a Facebook post, Yiannopoulos blamed the radicalism behind the attack on left-leaning progressives, and called Islam a “barbaric, alien religious” culture.  After that, immigration minister David Coleman said on Saturday that comments about Islam made by Yiannopoulos in the wake of the Christchurch massacre were “appalling and foment hatred and division” and he would not be allowed in the country.  Score one for common sense!

In the aftermath of the shootings, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a promise to the people:  “Our gun laws will change”. While most European nations ban them, New Zealand allows, with a special permit, pistols, semi-automatic weapons and machine guns.  That is the only major difference between NZ and most other European nations’ gun laws, and it was the reason the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, came to the country from his native Australia, to do his dirty deeds.

New Zealand Attorney General David Baker announced at a vigil late Friday that the country would ban semiautomatic weapons.  Although this will require more than a statement by the Attorney General and the Prime Minister, and is far from a done deal, isn’t it refreshing to see a country that doesn’t hide behind a shield, a country where the heads of government put the lives of the people they represent ahead of the profits of gun manufacturers?  Listen up, U.S. lawmakers!

Score two for common sense!


A bit of good news …

I conclude with a tidbit of good news.  The University of Tennessee announced recently it would guarantee free tuition and fees to admitted in-state residents with a family household income of less than $50,000.  University President Randy Boyd announced the program, to start in the fall of 2020, saying …

“This isn’t a school just for the wealthy or the elite. This is a school for everyone. It is critically important that we take a lead role in ensuring students can achieve their dream of obtaining an undergraduate college degree. It is our mission and responsibility to do everything we can to ease the financial burden for our middle- and working-class families, and UT Promise is an ideal conduit to achieve that.”

Let us hope that this paves the way for many, many more colleges and universities to offer similar opportunities.  Similar free-tuition programs are available in Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Indiana. Lawmakers in eight other states are considering similar programs.  Eat your heart out, Betsy DeVos!


I think that’s about enough of my snarkiness for one day, so enjoy what’s left of your Sunday, and I shall return in the morning with Jolly Monday!

DOA … Dead On Arrival

Fortunately, since we have a caveman at the helm, the president does not write the budget – Congress does.  The president can submit his proposal, his request or wish list, but at the end of the day, it is Congress who writes the budget.  Thankfully.

This week, Trump gave his wish list to Congress, and as we all suspected, it is atrocious.  In short, he wants to take as much as he can possibly take from We the People and give as much as he possibly can to his wealthy cronies, raising the already-staggering deficit in the process.  Let’s take a look at some of the most egregious items, shall we?

  • First, there is “the wall”. Since he couldn’t bully Congress into giving him the $5.7 billion he asked for to start work on the wall, he is now asking for $8.6 billion!  And this guy is supposed to be a master dealmaker?  The art of compromise is entirely lost on him!
  • Then there is the environment. His proposal is to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 31%.  It would cut the EPA’s Global Change Research office, which exists to provide scientific information to policymakers about the threats posed by climate change, as well as a number of other programs involving clean water and air.
  • Along similar lines, he proposes massive cuts to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) renewable energy and energy efficiency budget … some 70%!!! The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which falls under the DOE, provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year in grants and other financial assistance for clean energy, has financed research into technologies ranging from electric vehicles to energy projects powered by ocean waves. It has been credited with financing research to help make the cost of wind power competitive with coal, and cutting the costs of LED lighting.

Note that Trump has repeatedly vowed to zero out federal spending on clean energy research and development, while doing everything in his power to promote and even subsidize the fossil fuel industry.  The only conclusion that can be drawn is that either he truly desires the destruction of the human race, or he is really that damn stupid.

  • He proposes to cut safety net programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance, all programs that low-income families depend on for their very survival. In spite of inflation, he proposes to freeze the maximum Pell Grant for low-income college students.
  • He has also proposed to cut Medicare … that benefit that we all paid into every single paycheck of our lives … by $845 billion over the next ten years! And … he plans to cut $25 billion from Social Security … again, a program that we all paid 6.2% of our gross pay into every paycheck we ever earned in our entire lives!

Note that in 2016, when he was still a wanna-be, he said, “I’m not going to cut Social Security, like every other Republican, and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” More damn lies! 

  • He also proposes to cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 16 percent and the Education Department by 12 percent.
  • He does, however, wish to increase the defense budget by $750 billion (that’s in addition to the $8.6 billion for his damn wall).

No part of the plan addresses increasing revenue, and in fact it extends the tax cuts for the wealthy that were passed in December 2017.  It is by no means a balanced budget, and will absolutely, without question add to the national debt and deficit, both of which are already out of control, by trillions of dollars.  What happened, I would ask, to those fiscal hawks that put Obama down for eight years for not balancing the budget, for deficit spending?  Yo!  Republicans!  Can y’all hear me out there in la-la land???  This ‘man’ you all think so much of, that you’re willing to lose friends over, is going to cut Social Security … the money you have saved for your retirement since the first day of your first job.  Are you going to continue to sit on those fat, white posteriors and not even raise a stink?

But, there is good news.  And that is …

Trump’s budget proposal does not stand snowball’s chance in hell of passing Congress!  Not even a slight chance.  Even the republicans don’t like it!  It is naught but his pie-in-the-sky wish list.  However … what it does do is it speaks volumes about Mr. Trump’s priorities, and his lack of concern for the people who put him into office.  A president is elected, in theory, by the majority of the voters.  In Trump’s case, he was not elected by the majority at all, but was nearly three million votes short of it.  One might think that would make him work a lot harder to win over those of us who did not vote for him, but instead, he devotes seemingly every waking moment to finding ways to stab us in the back.

We’re tired of it.  Instead of working with Congress to attempt to develop a budget that benefits the nation and its people, he is submitting a proposal that his own advisors have told him will not fly.  He is working against the very people he swore to represent.  His priorities are a wall, his rich cronies, his Star Wars-type toy, a ‘Space Force’, and other useless crap, for lack of a better word.  Meanwhile, the poor and middle class, the 99% of the nation, will suffer if he gets his way.  Those are his priorities, folks.  His budget proposal tells us exactly where we stand … out in the cold.