Good People Doing Good Things — Young People Around The World!

Today is World Kindness Day, so it’s rather a good day for this post, don’t you think?  Good people come in all sizes, shapes & colours, and there is no age requirement for being a good person.  Every now and then, I like to focus this feature on young people who are doing good things, for it gives us reason to hope for a brighter future.  And believe me, there are plenty of them out there!


Take, for example, Nicholas Lowinger.  Now, Nicholas had a good example to follow, for his mother worked in various homeless shelters across the state of Rhode Island.  When Nicholas was only five years old, his mother took him to visit in one of the shelters, and he quickly realized that the children in the shelter were living in circumstances that were very different from his own.  While Nicholas had a brand-new pair of light-up sneakers, he saw children in the shelter who had no shoes.nick-lowinger

“I saw other kids my age who looked just like me. The only difference was, they were wearing old, tattered shoes that were falling apart. Some didn’t have a pair of shoes to call their own. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a family that is able to provide me with whatever I need. A lot of kids here in the U.S. don’t have the same opportunities.”

Fast forward to 2010, when Nicholas was 12 years old and met a homeless brother and sister duo at school who took turns going to school because they only had one pair of shoes between them.  Nicholas gave the boy a pair of his own basketball sneakers, but it gave him an idea.

“I didn’t want to make one donation and stop there. I wanted it to be something I could do for the rest of my life.”

With the help of his parents, he then started the Gotta Have Sole Foundation.   Since 2010, the organization has donated new footwear to more than 100,000 homeless children in 35 states.  Take a look at this short clip to see Nicholas tell a bit of his story.

Two thumbs up to this young man whose social conscience began at a very early age!  👍👍


Or how about sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen … Six years ago, these two sisters, then ages 12 and 10, decided they were going to do something about the plastic problem on their island of Bali.  The girls were inspired by the country of Rwanda’s ban of polyethylene bags in 2008 and decided to try to get their native Bali to do the same.

Bali is part of the island nation of Indonesia, which is the world’s second biggest polluter when it comes to marine plastic, trailing only China.

The two sisters got the idea for Bye Bye Plastic Bags in 2013 after a lesson at school about influential world leaders — change-makers — including Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

“My sister and I went home that day thinking, ‘Well, what can we do as kids living on the island of Bali?’ You see, we didn’t want to wait until we were older to start making a difference. It wasn’t even a question, really. It was more like, what can we do, as kids, right now.”

The answer was right in their own backyard …Bali-beach

“It got to the point where on weekends when we would go to our childhood beach, if we went swimming there, a plastic bag would wrap around your arm. And you say just, enough is enough.”

They went online and discovered that over 40 countries had already banned or taxed plastic bags.

“We thought, ‘Well, if they can do it, c’mon, Bali! C’mon, Indonesia! We can do it, too!’ So, without a business plan or a strategy or a budget, like my mom will tell you, we went forward with a pure passion and intention to make our island home plastic bag free.”

They got some friends together, went online to start a petition and got 6,000 signatures in less than a day! They spread awareness through school and community workshops. They organized massive beach cleanup campaigns, all the while drawing international attention and that of local politicians too.

“I think one of the biggest tools that pushed us forward was our decision to go on a food strike.”

The sisters put the word out about their plan on social media. Local media picked it up, and that prompted the governor at the time, I Made Pastika, to do what any savvy politician would do when faced with two teenage girls threatening a hunger strike. He invited them to come see him.

“Within 24 hours, we had a phone call and then the next day we were picked up from school and escorted to the office of the governor.”

Pastika signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the sisters to work toward eliminating plastic on the island — and later pledged to rid Bali of plastic bags by 2018. That didn’t happen, but the sisters kept engaging government at every level — local, municipal and national — to keep up the pressure. Melati Wijsen says she learned a lot about dealing with politicians in the process.Melati-IsabelBut … in December 2018, the new governor of Bali announced a law banning single-use plastic in 2019, thanks in part to the sisters’ efforts and those of like-minded NGOs.  Last year, the girls founded their own NGO (non-governmental organization), Bye Bye Plastic Bags.

“We’re actually now in 28 locations around the world, and it’s all led by young people. We’ve created a starter kit and a handbook that guides them through this process of how to start a movement.”

Bali-beach-2These young women are pretty awesome, don’t you think?  Perhaps we need them to come over here?  Another two thumbs up!  👍👍


And then there’s Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone, the “world’s youngest self-taught engineer”.  Kelvin got his start when he began looking for ways to fix local problems with technology as an 11-year-old, just five years after the country’s volatile civil war ended.Kelvin-DoeKelvin Doe grew up in Freetown, Sierra Leone. At the age of 11, he started collecting scrap material on the way home from school. He discovered that with a little bit of tinkering he could make working parts from things that others had thrown out. Feeling inspired he’d go to bed at 7pm only to wake up in the middle of the night and tinker while the rest of his family slept.

He went on to build a community radio station out of recycled parts that he powered with a generator also made out of reused material. David Sengeh, a PhD student at the MIT media lab and Kelvin’s mentor, said: “In Sierra Leone, other young people suddenly feel they can be like Kelvin.”

In 2016, at the age of 19, Kelvin became an honorary board member of Emergency USA (a global non-profit that provides free medical care for those affected by war and poverty) and founding the Kelvin Doe Foundation, a non-profit organization that is committed to empowering young people in Africa to design innovative solutions to tackle some of the most critical issues in their communities.

Take a look at this video from when he was only fifteen …

Wow, huh?  I’m in awe of this young man!  Another two thumbs-up!  👍👍


Okay, folks, I’ve run out of thumbs now, so that wraps this week’s “good people” post up, but hopefully you found something to love and to inspire you about these young people!  Until next week … remember, if you can’t find a good people, then just go ahead and be one!

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.

Afternoon ‘Toons!

The first thing I saw in the news this morning made my blood boil … the republicans in the House of Representatives are requesting that Hunter Biden and the whistleblower be subpoenaed to testify before the investigative committees.  First, Hunter Biden?  They have no reason to ask Hunter Biden to testify … that is harassment of a private citizen without cause.  But even worse, is their “demand” that the whistleblower testify.  That is akin to painting a big, red target on his or her back.  It would almost certainly be signing his/her death warrant, given the crazies in the Trump camp that are running around fully loaded for bear.  So, I knew that anything I would write at the moment would be a rant.  It’s Saturday, and this afternoon I will be going out for lunch and a bit of shopping with the girls, so I really don’t want to be in a growlie mood.  So, instead I decided to look at some of those brilliant political cartoons and at least maybe have a chuckle or two, at the expense of the idiots in Washington.


Lindsey Graham.  Sigh.  Lindsey seemingly has no conscience, is two-faced, and seemingly goes in whichever direction he perceives the winds of fortune to be blowing, even if it means stabbing a friend in the back, as he once did his ‘best friend’, John McCain.  More recently, ol’ Lindsey, who fully supported Bill Clinton’s impeachment back in 1998-1999, is refusing to even do his job, says he won’t even read the transcripts from the impeachment investigations.  

GrahamGraham-2Graham-3Graham-4

Graham-5


Since long before he took office, Trump has called climate change a ‘hoax’.  Since taking office, he has actively done everything in his power to add to the problem, to decimate and destroy our environment.  He has long said that he would take the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, making us the only nation on the planet not committed to doing everything in our power to keep the planet from becoming uninhabitable.  Last week, he kept that “promise”, and took the first step toward pulling out of the Accord.  It was a sad day for the citizens of this nation, and one that will ultimately make us the pariah, the most hated nation on earth.  Climate change is real, folks … it’s Trump who is the hoax!

climateclimate-2climate-3climate-4climate-5Nick Anderson cartoonclimate-7


Trump recently announced that he is changing his state of residence from New York to Florida.  I don’t recall what b.s. excuse he gave, but the reality is it’s naught but a tax dodge.  New Yorkers cheered, while Floridians drowned their sorrows in either a bar or the rising sea tides.

Trump-floridaTrump-florida-2Moving to Florida

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I rather thought this looked more like Boris than Donnie …


There was some good news last Tuesday, as people in states like Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania used their vote to tell the nation that they are fed up with the GOP corruption running rampant in the Era of Trump.

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And, of course, as I mentioned in my opening blurb, there is the whistleblower and the fact that the GOP is basically calling for his/her execution …

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And, of course, there is that proverbial ‘elephant in the room’, the looming impeachment, which I hope succeeds beyond our wildest dreams and that Trump is booted out of the White House before the end of the year!  Yeah, I know, I’m dreaming.

impeachimpeach-2impeach-3Attacking the CIATom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c191103.tif


And, to offset any angst you might be feeling … take a look at this … guaranteed to give you a chuckle.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, my friends!

This Cannot Become “Normal”

I came across this OpEd in the New York Times by one of my favourite opinion writers, Nicholas Kristof, earlier today.  It is a prescient warning that I think is worth sharing.


Don’t Let Trump Make You Numb to What’s Unacceptable

Our species has an ability to adapt. Now’s not the time.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

  • Nov. 6, 2019

The problem with being a frog in a beaker is that you may not notice the water temperature rising to a boil.

Humans, too. In New Delhi, people get used to air that is filthy. In Syria, to checkpoints. In Angola, to corruption. In China, to propaganda. And in America, we risk becoming numbed to a political, social and moral breakdown.

Scandal and dysfunction dribble out from Washington day by day, numbing us so that we may forget just how unprecedented and outrageous the trends are. It was only five years ago that Fox News was deploring a “shocking” and “desperate” presidential scandal that Republican Representative Peter King described as inexcusable: Barack Obama wore a tan suit! Now we can’t even keep track of how many countries President Trump has asked to do him political favors.

I’ve been traveling abroad, so I’ve been asking journalists and officials how they see America, and from a distance they offer blunt assessments. “If your president isn’t a Manchurian candidate,” one senior European official said, “he’s doing a pretty good imitation of one.”

In 2016, Obama’s passivity and Republican intransigence may have allowed Russian cyberattacks to swing the presidency to Trump (there’s no way to be sure, but that’s what the forensic work of Kathleen Hall Jamieson suggests). Yet despite improvement, the United States still doesn’t have an adequate strategy to foil Russian or Chinese interference in the 2020 election.

Trump is a hero of many evangelical Christians who previously emphasized the importance of personal values and restoring “honor and dignity” to the White House. Meanwhile, he is on his third wife, has cheated on all three and has been accused of sexual misconduct by 25 women. And Trump tweeted a supporter’s praise likening him to “the second coming of God.”

Since taking office, Trump has made more than 13,400 false or misleading statements, according to a Washington Post database. The Post found that he has recently accelerated his falsehoods to a rate of 22 per day, more than one per waking hour. (I’ve covered many world leaders, and the only two whom I consider pathological liars are Trump and former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.)

Trump has declared “I am the chosen one.” His press secretary last month spoke of “the genius of our great President.”

Trump, who according to a Times investigation is wealthy partly because of fraud, pledged to fight corruption and “drain the swamp.” Since then, he has lost more first-term cabinet members to scandal than any president in history.

 “I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump said before his election. In fact, he has visited golf clubs approximately 224 times since taking office, including more than three months in total at Mar-a-Lago. These vacation trips have cost taxpayers more than $100 million.

Trump’s mother was an immigrant, as are two of the women he married (his current wife may have been undocumented). Yet he has ripped children from parents at the border, and his administration has argued that detained immigrant children do not need soap or toothbrushes.

We haven’t even gotten to Trump trying to buy Greenland, marching into women’s changing rooms to admire undressed teenagers, borrowing Stalinist language to denounce the press as the “enemy of the people,” claiming that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, banning Muslims or diverting money to build the wall that Mexico supposedly would pay for.

Oh, and that multibillion-dollar wall is now being cut open by smugglers with $100 saws.

Yet America’s dysfunction goes beyond Trump, and it will outlast Trump, even as it is aggravated by him.

American kids ages 1 through 19 are 57 percent more likely to die than those in other advanced nations, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs. That’s partly because the United States is virtually alone in failing to provide universal health coverage: Trump didn’t create that problem, but he did magnify it so that the number of uninsured children is now increasing.

Longstanding economic inequality in the United States, exacerbated by Trump’s tax cuts and other policies, is staggering. A single hedge fund tycoon, James Simons, made $1.6 billion last year, or more than $4 million each day — yet the United States has 100,000 children who on any given night are homeless. Since 2000, 61,000 foster kids have simply gone missing. Girls and boys are sold by pimps for sex in every American city.

America is not, as President Trump once called it, a “hellhole.” It is a nation of enormous strengths and resources, but we need to muster them now. A merit of our species is that we are adaptable and resilient and can get used to almost anything.

But we should never get accustomed to all this. Let’s not let ourselves be numbed by the daily drip into accepting a level of Trumpian dysfunction that should always be unacceptable.

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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

Good People Doing Good Things — Too Many To Count

Hooray for Wednesdays!  It is such a breath of fresh air to shine a light on people who care about others, who are giving of themselves, even in the smallest of ways, to somehow make life better for somebody.


California is on fire …

You’ve all seen on television or the internet the terrible devastation caused by this year’s wildfires in California.  The fires extend from the northern to the southern border, and some 9.000 firefighters are working day and night to contain the fires.  Typically, when disaster strikes, good people jump into action, and today I would like to share with you a few people who are helping.  First of all, though, I want to give a shout out to those 9,000 firefighters.  They are working in horrid conditions, with very little sleep, risking their own lives to help save lives, property, forests … these guys are HEROES! TOPSHOT-US-WILDFIRES-CALIFORNIA-WILDFIRE

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I had never heard the name John Cena until last night (yeah, I’m sure you are all rolling your eyes … I’ve told you, I am a pop culture throwback!), but it’s a name I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.  Turns out Mr. Cena is a former wrestler-turned-actor, who has a new movie coming out day after tomorrow in which he plays … a firefighter!   Mr. Cena put out a very touching video on Twitter, announcing that he is donating $500,000 to the California first responders.  But, he didn’t stop there … he called on Paramount Pictures to match his donation, which they did.

Other celebrities who have donated to the cause include Chris Pratt, LeBron James, and others. You all know how I generally feel about celebrities, millionaires and such, but when they open their hearts and wallets to those in need, I give credit where credit is due.

Last year, I wrote a post about heroic efforts large and small during the California wildfires of 2018 (I do hope this won’t become an annual feature!), and one part of that post featured celebrity chef José Andrés and his wonderful organization World Central Kitchen.  Just as they did last year, they are back out there this year feeding the firefighters.WCK-1Joining Chef Andrés were celebrity chefs Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri as well as many other chefs and volunteers.  You can see some of the pictures on the World Central Kitchen website.  Hats off to this very worthy organization and those who give of their own time and money to help feed those firefighters who are putting their lives on the line 24/7!


Two hearts …

Jonathan Pinkard collapsed at work one day a few months ago and was rushed to Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Coweta County, Georgia.  At 27 years of age, it was determined that Jonathan needed a heart transplant.  The problem wasn’t, as so often is the case, finding a heart, but rather Mr. Pinkard was deemed ineligible because he had no family to be his support system, to help him through the recovery process.  Without the transplant, Mr. Pinkard would die.

Enter ICU nurse Lori Wood …

“I think at some point God places people and situations in your life and you have a choice to do something about it. For me with this situation there was no choice. I had a room, I was a nurse, I could take care of him. So it really wasn’t anything that I struggled about it was just something that had to happen. He had to come home with me.”

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Jonathan Pinkard and Nurse Lori Wood

So, Lori officially adopted Jonathan Pinkard, which got him onto the transplant list, and he received a new heart in August.  Ms. Wood is helping him transition to living independently once again, and Mr. Pinkard plans to return to work next month! Jonathan Pinkard may have a new heart, but Lori Wood has a huge heart, don’t you think?


A very little good people …

This story first came to my attention via our friend Keith, and then I found it on the ‘net.  It’s a little thing, but I thought it worthy to be included here.

The kid’s name is Jackson Champagne, and he is 8 years old.  On Hallowe’en night, Jackson was out trick-or-treating when he came to a house with a candy bowl set outside, as some people do.  But alas!  The bowl was empty!  Not so much as am M&M remained!

“All gone. There ain’t no more candy.”

Jackson turned as if to leave empty-handed, but as he noticed other witches, ghosts and goblins coming up the walkway, he stopped, dug around in his own bag, and put some of his own candy in the bowl for the little guys coming behind him!

Now if that doesn’t just melt your heart.  Happens that the homeowner, Leslie Hodges, saw the whole thing on their home security video later on that evening.  Hodges said just what I always say on these Wednesday posts …

“He renewed the faith that there are still some good people out there.”

Quite so.


Remember, folks … there are lots of good people out there doing good things … you don’t even have to look far.  In fact, I’m betting that if you go down the hall in your house right now and look in the mirror, you will see a ‘good people’.

We The People Have Had ENOUGH!

Dear Donald Trump … our lives ARE NOT your personal playthings to do with as you wish for your own greedy, egotistical, narcissistic purposes!  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.  Filosofa is growling and grumbling tonight for a number of reasons …


#1

Several days ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said …

“I’m increasingly worried that President Trump will want to shut down the government again because of impeachment. He always likes to create diversions. I hope and pray he won’t want to cause another government shutdown because it might be a diversion away from impeachment.”

When asked on Sunday if he would shut down the government in light of the ongoing impeachment investigations, he said …

“It depends on — it depends on what the negotiation — I wouldn’t commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiation is.”

This is NOT how government works … at least not unless your country is a tinpot dictatorship!  But then, Donald Trump is neither educated nor enlightened on how government works, and has no concern for the standards and practices, nor for the people of this nation, let alone the U.S. Constitution.

Trump’s last government shutdown, which was also a political ploy to attempt to force Congress to fund his damnable wall, was the longest in the history of the nation.  It cost people their homes, their cars … their livelihood.  Is he going to do it again?  Does he foolishly believe that the House of Representatives will shirk their duty and drop the impeachment investigations in exchange for his signature on the short-term spending bill before November 21st?  If he believes that, he better think again.  If he shuts our government down again for his own personal gain, somebody really ought to put strychnine in his Big Mac!


#2

For those republicans and Trump supporters who may be unaware … California is one of the 50 states in the United States, and the most populous state.  The population of California is 39.56 million, or approximately 11.9% of the nation’s total.  And California is burning!  California is experiencing horrible wildfires that are threatening land, structures, crops, and lives.  Nearly 100,000 acres have burned in recent weeks, and thousands of people have been forced from their homes.  And how, you might ask, is the head of the federal government helping?California-fire-1In his usual way, by placing the blame on others, by saying he could have done it better, and by threatening to cut off federal aid to the state — all done via tweet, of course.

First, he blamed California Governor Gavin Newsom who has been a critic of Trump for some time.

“The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must “clean” his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers …”

California-fire-2This from a ‘man’ who has no idea what he is even talking about, a ‘man’ who last year said that Finland ‘rakes’ their forests, a faux pas that the president of Finland quickly put paid to, showing Trump for the fool that he is!

Newsom fired back …

“You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”

Thumbs up to Governor Newsom!  👍👍California-fire-3The reality is that increased temperatures due to global warming are causing the huge wildfires in California, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Drier, warmer conditions lead to vegetation drying out and becoming more flammable.  And what has Trump done?  He has rolled back nearly every single environmental regulation that would have helped reduce carbon emissions that are exacerbating the effects of climate change.  He is more nearly responsible for those wild fires than any other individual on the planet, in my book!  And yet …

“Every year, as the fire’s [sic] rage & California burns, it is the same thing – and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor.”

Jackass.


#3

And speaking of climate change …

Yesterday, Trump kept to his threat, taking the first step in the process to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, making the U.S. the only nation to ever have done so, making us the only nation that appears not to give a damn about the environment, or the future of life on Earth.  In a tweet, Mike Pompeo bragged about the move, saying …

“Today we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The U.S. is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy, and ensuring energy for our citizens. Ours is a realistic and pragmatic model.”

I beg to differ.  First of all, we are NOT proud of anything this nation has done regarding the environment since Trump took office.  We have, under the lunacy of Donald Trump, done not one damn thing to cut emissions, protect the land or wildlife habitats, the water or air, but instead have removed nearly every regulation that was in place prior to January 20, 2017!  I had hoped he would be gone from office long before this day rolled around.  There is still some hope, since the country will not be officially out of the agreement until November 4, 2020 … the day after Trump is (fingers crossed) voted out of office.

In response to Pompeo’s tweet, Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a leading expert on the United Nations’ international climate negotiations process, warned …

“President Trump’s decision to walk away from the Paris agreement is irresponsible and shortsighted. All too many people are already experiencing the costly and harmful impacts of climate change in the form of rising seas, more intense hurricanes and wildfires, and record-breaking temperatures.”

If the U.S. does, in fact, officially pull out, we will be THE ONLY nation on the entire globe that is not in the agreement and is not even trying to save the environment.  Think about that one for a minute.  Or two minutes.


I have more, but … well, that’s enough for the moment … I don’t want to make you all growl and grumble too.  There is one bit of a bright spot.  Remember last week I wrote about Washington Nationals’ pitcher Sean Doolittle who, after much thought, decided he would decline the offer to visit the White House for a celebration of the team’s win?  His reasoning was that Trump had gone against many of Mr. Doolittle’s own values with his racist ways.  Well, when I wrote that, it was rumoured that several other players were also considering declining the offer, and I am pleased to report that six other players in addition to Mr. Doolittle did not attend the White House ceremony yesterday.  They are Anthony Rendon, Joe Ross, Javy Guerra, Wilmer Difo, Victor Robles, and Michael Taylor.  I applaud them for having the courage to follow their conscience.

Saturday Surprise — B

Good morning, and welcome to the Weekend! You guys have big plans for the weekend?  We’re having a joint birthday party with our neighbors Maha & Ali and kids this evening, so I’ll be in the kitchen most of this day.  Daughter Chris’ birthday was last Saturday, and Maha’s was on Sunday, but we were all busy doing other things last weekend, so we’re celebrating together this weekend.  I was going to put a number of candles on the cake equal to their combined ages, but as Natasha pointed out, it would be a fire hazard, and anyway, can you imagine how long it would take me to light 93 candles???  Anyway … I had to go to Kroger for a few things yesterday … November 1st and let me tell you … Kroger did not waste a single second switching from Hallowe’en to Christmas!  Christmas nuts, Christmas candy, Christmas lunch cakes, napkins, paper plates, baking stuff … ay ay ay!!!  Could we please have a little break in between holidays … and anyway, what happened to Thanksgiving???


I had heard the term “Social media influencer” a few times recently, but paid no attention and gave it no further thought.  Until last night, that is, when while searching for something to enchant you this Saturday morning, I came across a very special little ‘influencer’, and thought I should at least figure out what was meant by the term.  Now sure, I know that an influencer would be somebody or something that has influence over another person or people, but these days, social media has a language all its own, so I did a bit of digging.

“An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. An individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with.”

Okay, not much different than I would have thought, and it sounds like not much more than Marketing 101.  But, today’s Surprise is a very special influencer and her marketing efforts are for a very good cause – to raise money to save the bees.  Bees are the most important living thing on Earth, due to 70% of the world’s agriculture depending on them.  Frighteningly, bees are now an endangered species, with recent studies showing a dramatic decline in the insects’ numbers; almost 90% of the bee population has disappeared in the past few years.

Enter Fondation de France, an independent administrative agency established by the government for the purpose of saving the bees.  They have set up a charity, Bee Fund, and an Instagram account for the subject of today’s Surprise, an adorable little CGI (computer-generated imagery) bee called, appropriately, B.  B has more than 122,000 followers today, and B aims to save the world by generating ad revenue via social media and then donating everything to the Bee Fund charity.  Let’s take a look at a few of B’s pictures … I think you’ll enjoy her.  Please do take just a minute to visit Bee Fund’s site … I found a lot of information about the declining bee population there, as well as the things being done to try to save the bees … it’s well worth the visit.

B-1

“Yo guys! So, name a thing you love.
Chocolate? I make it.
Ice-cream? I make it. 
Coffee? Always me.
Broccoli? Me again.
Clothes? Still me. 
We are behind most of the things you use everyday! And 24% of bees are dying every year.This is bad for us, but terrible for you as well dear humans… Are you ready for a world without chocolate?”

B-2

“I love to read and reply to your comments on my posts from my bathtube! Ask me questions in the comments: I will answer to EVERYONE! (As long as water stays warm)”

B-3

“Je vois la vie en rose. Maybe I should think about painting my hive in pink.”

B-4

“I might not be in a museum, but I’m Mother Nature’s masterpiece.”

B-5

“It is essential to save the planet… And the bees too! Both are threatened and trust me, it would be terrible to live without bees. Thanks a lot for demonstrating today, it was really nice to see you all and let’s keep up the fight!”

B-6

“Afternoon at the Sacré-Coeur! Where should I go for my next painting?”

B-7

“I spend so much time in my bathroom every morning… Ladies what is your morning routine?”

B-9

“I am so happy to work on my next partnerships and I can’t wait to share it with you!”

B-10

“On my way to the Montmartre’s 2019 grape harvest festival! Did you know that without bees there would be no wine? We pollinate plants and flowers that are essential for vineyards’ health.”

B-12

“Watering my little plants! Tips for humans: always keep flowers on your balconies, we might stop by to say hi.”

B-14

“What a better place than your bed when it is rainy outside. Even though it’s very important for nature, I’m not very much into rain because it frizzes my hair!”

B-18

“Great game with my friends today! (Haha just kidding I went there just to take pictures for my Instagram.)”

B-20

“Heading into the weekend like..”

B-22

“I’m not like Pablo, but I try to do my best…”

B-23

“Trying to get a little tan before going back to work.”

B-24

“Are you ready for the Pride, Paris?? I can’t wait to march with you.”

B-25

“Check out that side bee…”

B-26

“If you love to eat, you have to celebrate World Food Day! My sisters and I are behind most of the food you eat everyday. Are you wondering which ones?”

B-28

“Finally back home and working late today but it’s worth it.”

B-30

“Today I visited @FondationdeFrance, together we are working on my upcoming partnerships. From this flower of their balcony, I feel more than motivated and thanks to you all, we will save the bees.”

Snarky Snippets ‘N Mini Rants

Filosofa may have mostly come out of her funky mood, but now she’s just flat-out mad.  Why?  Most everything, that’s why!  We still have the Oaf in the Oval spouting inanities, the unconscionable members of Congress who are too dedicated to their own self-interest to be concerned about ours, California is being devastated by horrible fires while our government fights for the right to further destroy this planet we call home.  And that’s just for starters …


Profit over the environment — Again!

Donald Trump and his band of merry republicans have been robbing from the poor and giving to the rich for long enough now.  Remember the Keystone Pipeline?  In a nutshell, it has been one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in the history of this nation, largely over environmental concerns.  The main issues are the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and 17% higher greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of oil sands compared to extraction of conventional oil. In 2015, President Obama, caring about the environment, vetoed the bill allowing construction to proceed pending further environmental studies, and it has been a battleground ever since.  Last fall, a federal judge in Montana halted the project, after finding that Trump’s administration had not done the proper environmental reviews.

But, not to be outdone by a mere court order, last March Trump signed one of his infamous ‘executive orders’ allowing the project to move forward, despite protests by environmental groups.  Well, guess what, folks … on Tuesday that pipeline sprung a leak.  It happened in North Dakota where some 383,000 gallons of crude oil is now covering a half-acre of wetlands, killing whatever wildlife called it their home.  Way to go, Trump … another epic failure in your [lack of] environmental policy.

In the words of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders …

“This is what happens when we have a president who ignores scientists and puts short-term fossil fuel profits ahead of the environment and the future of the planet.”


Your tax dollars … buying religion whether you want it or not

paula-whiteHer name is Paula White and she is a televangelist located in Florida.  Well, she was located in Florida … now she is located in Washington, D.C., working at the White House, her salary paid by our tax dollars!  I am not religious, certainly not a believer in that which Ms. White calls ‘faith’, so why should I have to pay her salary?  Has nobody in this bloody administration read the U.S. Constitution???  You know, that document that effectively calls for a separation between ‘church’ and ‘state’?

According to a “White House official”, White will work in the Office of Public Liaison, which is the division of the White House overseeing outreach to groups and coalitions organizing key parts of Trump’s base. Her role will be to advise the administration’s “Faith and Opportunity Initiative”, which Trump established last year by executive order and which aims to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs devoted to issues like defending religious liberty.  Again … where is the separation between church and state???  Religion is not supposed to affect public policy!  Government programs are supposed to represent and assist ALL people, not only those of a specified religion!  What about Hindus, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, and atheists???  And what about those groups who are determinedly discriminated against by the religion Trump & White are pandering to, such as members of the LGBTQ community?

Political analysts see this move as Trump trying to ensure he keeps his evangelical base happy in the months leading up to the 2020 election.  He has taken repeated steps to ensure they turn out for him again — by issuing executive orders, making cabinet appointments, and nominating federal judges that pass muster with the religious right. On a range of issues from abortion rights to tax exemptions for churches, Trump has tried to grant Christian conservatives their policy wishes whenever legally and politically feasible.

But what about the rest of us?  Evangelicals do not constitute a majority in this nation, and the rest of us pay taxes too!  I want my money back, for I am getting literally not one damn thing in return for it.  Ms. White isn’t too bright, either, for here’s what she says of Trump …

“He’s in total control. He’s not at all impulsive — he’s so far ahead of everyone, very much a strategic thinker.”

What a crock of you-know-what!


Reverse Robin Hood … again!

Remember December 2017 and the tax cuts that benefited the wealthy and corporations?  As a result, companies like Exxon-Mobil, Amazon and others pay less taxes than you do.  As a result, our national debt is now a staggering $22.9 trillion, and the national deficit was, as of September 30th, just shy of $1 trillion.  Way to go, Trump …

Well, it doesn’t end there.  For you see, the tax cuts were structured in such a way as to help only the wealthiest in the land, but he sold the public such a snowjob that his base genuinely believed that he was doing it to help them.  And they still largely believe it, even though they have hard proof in front of them that they did not, in fact, benefit.  So, since that worked so well, and since Trump is heading into next year’s election with several strikes against him, he has decided to re-play December 2017 with yet another round of tax cuts for the wealthy sometime ahead of the election.

Now, here’s the thing … even if the tax cuts were to help the lower-and-middle income groups, it is a bad … really, really bad idea.  We owe money … trillions and trillions of dollars … more money than you and I could even imagine.  And, we are spending more than we are taking in.  WHO in their right mind thinks the best idea is to cut our revenue???  Au contraire, we need to be raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, not cutting them for anybody.  If you or I managed our budgets and debt as poorly as Trump is managing this country’s, we would be in debtor’s prison!  It is poor stewardship, it is … it is stupid!  But then, look who we’re talking about.


And then there’s …stage-hook

… wait … I’m not dooooonnnnne

A Unique Halloween Message

Our friend Nan received the most creative fund-raising message from her Senator, a democrat, that I have ever seen, and I just had to share it!

Nan's Notebook

The following is a message I received from my DEMOCRATIC Senator. I thought it was pretty clever. 

Halloween is special. From the Jolly Rancher to each Sour Patch Kid kid out there, everyone enjoys setting aside their cares, spending a bit of their hard-earned Payday to spread a little Almond Joy to their friends and neighbors.

This year, however, I have to admit, I’m a little distracted. Because our country has Mounds of Goobers who are putting our future at risk.

That’s why 2020 is so important. We must take back the Senate together, with Whatchamacallit — grassroots support. Take 5 and chip in before the stroke of midnight.

Let’s connect the Dots:

Climate chaos is melting the Sno Caps, threatening to turn our world into an Atomic Fireball.

Trump’s Airheads Xtremes are putting a Crunch on the Constitution.

The Republican spending Spree on the ultra-wealthy defies Riesen.

The Whoppers get worse by the day.

That’s why we need a few Life Savers right now, Nan.

We don’t need 100 Grand from one Mr. Goodbar.

We…

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