Define “Generous” Please …

My jaw literally (well, okay, figuratively) dropped to the floor this morning when I saw this headline:

HHS Secretary: Separating Immigrant Families Is ‘One of the Great Acts of American Generosity’

Say what???

The separation of children from their parents at the southern border can be defined by only two words:  a fiasco, and chaos.  ‘Generosity’ is definitely the antithesis of what this nation has done to those families seeking a safe haven.  A federal judge ordered all children under the age of five to be reunited with their parents by July 10th  — yesterday.  However, some 84 of the 101 or 102 children under five remain separated from their families in detention centers, aka concentration camps.  How is this ‘generous’?

“We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities.” That was Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday night, referring to what he calls the juvenile and “tender age” facilities in which many of the separated children are currently being detained. It seems strange to me that if they have nothing to hide, they have barred media outlets and public figures from filming or visiting. And then he went on to say …

“It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids.” 

I call FOUL!!!  There is no generosity involved in taking a young child, a toddler, from its mother’s arms and putting it in an abandoned Wal-Mart store, surrounded by wire and strange faces!  And why is he referring to them as ‘unaccompanied’?  A two-year-old child does not just wander across the border on his own.  These children were accompanied by their parents!!!  Three thousand – 3,000 – children were accompanied by their parents, then taken away to detention centers, scared, alone, and not knowing why they are no longer with their parents.  And Mr. Azar calls this ‘generous’?  Perhaps his definition of the word is different than mine.  Or perhaps he is in the wrong job, for his agency is titled “Health and Human Services”, and there is nothing … not one thing … humanitarian about what is happening to these children!

HHS and ICE have so royally mucked up this entire fiasco that they deserve to be placed in these detention centers themselves.  First, they have lost track of some 20% of the parents who were either released in the U.S. or deported back to their homelands – without their children.  Second, they are claiming that 27 of the children under 5 will not be reunited because the parents have ‘criminal records’, yet we are not told what crimes they are accused of.  Perhaps nothing more than a speeding ticket or jaywalking in some cases.  We don’t know … we just don’t know.  And frankly, I no longer trust our government to provide us with actual facts, for thus far we have been spoon-fed the b.s. that they want us to believe and I do not buy a single word of it.

The delay in reuniting the children, we are told, is because HHS is conducting DNA testing on children and parents in order to ensure the right kids go to the right families.  I see this more as a delaying tactic than a genuine concern for the children’s safety and welfare.  Part of the reason for the DNA requirement, according to officials, is that the documents proving parentage were initially taken from the parents at the border, and those documents have since been lost!  They cannot keep up with the parents, they cannot keep up with the paperwork … what next?  And now we are told that at least four of the mothers have been told they must pay the cost for the DNA testing before getting their children back!  These mothers do not have $700 – $800 in their pockets!

There are many people in this administration who must bear the guilt of this fiasco, but at the end of the day, it all falls squarely in the lap of Donald Trump.  Separating these children from their parents was a political move, making the children pawns in Trump’s game.  The process was hastily thrown together with little or no thought to record-keeping and eventual reunification.  These children and their parents are human beings, yet they have been treated as … objects, for lack of a better word.  And now, to add insult to injury, Alex Azar has the unmitigated gall to call what we are doing ‘generous’?  I don’t think so, Alex … no sir, I do not see generosity anywhere in this equation.

Good People Doing Good Things — Cops!

It’s Wednesday and that means … 🥁 drumroll 🥁 … it’s time to go in search of some good people who are doing good things for others, for the environment, or helping animals … whatever.  I thought about today’s post, and I had picked out several young people to highlight.  But then a story about a police officer came to my attention and I was thinking about all the negative publicity police officers get these days … and so, I went in search of cops who are doing good things.  Certainly there are cops out there who deserve to be shunned, but I suspect that the majority became policemen and women because they wanted to help people, wanted to be a part of helping to keep the world safe, and they deserve to be recognized.  The ones I found are guilty of doing only small things, but I was encouraged by these stories, and I hope you will be too.

Meet Toronto Police Constable Niran JeyanesanConstable Niran JeyanesanLast Monday, Constable Jeyanesan and his partner responded to a call at a local Wal-Mart.  The store’s security officer had apprehended an 18-year-old shoplifter caught trying to steal a dress shirt, tie and a pair of socks.  Odd assortment for a teenager to steal, don’t you think?  Well, Constable Jeyanesan talked to the boy and discovered that his family was struggling, his dad had been out of work, and he had a job interview the next day, so he was stealing the clothes in order to look his best.

“This young person has been facing his own difficulties in life and he was looking to straighten out all that by providing for his family and trying to get a job. This individual didn’t have any resources. He wanted to go get that job. That was in his mind. I think he truly made a mistake.”

Instead of arresting the young man, the constable took the money from his own pocket and bought the young man the clothes!  Jeyanesan’s staff sergeant, supported his decision fully, saying …

“It reiterates our goal of being positive role models in the community. Every circumstance is different and in this particular case the individual had undergone some personal difficulties and the officer wanted to help him out with that, and I think collectively that’s why we are all here doing this job.”

The young man contacted Constable Jeyanesan later that week to let him know that he got the job!  And not only that … Constable Jeyanesan contacted some friends, and through his connections, they were able to get the young shoplifter’s father a job also!  This, folks, is what serving the community is all about!

A similar story …

Last month, a young mother in Laurel, Maryland didn’t have enough money to pay for both food and diapers, so she was caught by store security officers trying to steal the two packs of diapers worth about $15.  Police were called, and Officer Bennett Johns responded to the call. Bennet JohnsJohns realized the woman was struggling to provide for her son, and as someone who grew up with a single mother, he wanted to help both mother and child, so he paid for the diapers with his own money.

The city of Laurel has since referred the woman to an advocacy service that helps struggling families in the area.  Police spokeswoman Audrey Barnes said of Johns actions …

“Just out of personal kindness, he decided to go ahead and buy them. It speaks to the heart of what community policing is all about.”

Yes ma’am, it surely does!

This one happened back in July 2016, two years ago, and while I usually only go with recent stories, this one so touched me when I came across it tonight that I couldn’t resist.  It was shortly after the shooting of two black men by police – Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – followed by the fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally, so tensions were running high.

A group of cops were eating at a diner in Homestead, Pennsylvania when a couple entered the diner.  The man eyed the cops and told the server that he did not want to sit anywhere near them.  The officers overheard the conversation and what did they do?  They paid for the couple’s meal!  And they included a note …

Homestead-PA-cops“Sir, your check was paid for by the police officers you didn’t want to sit next to. Thank you for your support. I left a $10 tip too.”

One of the officers, Chuck Thomas, said …Chuck Thomas

“The day after Dallas, it was tight. You could feel the tension in the air. A lot of people did come up to us and thank us and shook hands and spoke of their sorrow. This was the only negative experience of the day. Essentially that was the whole goal of it was to let him know that we’re not here to hurt you. We’re not here for that. We’re here for you. We work for the public, and we just want to better the relationship between the community and the police.”

Again … this is how police can earn the trust of the community, bring people together rather than driving a wedge.  This is a fine example of community policing!

Last January, Corporal James Rowe and Corporal Hue Pham of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana police department received a call about a woman down near a bus stop, with no word of whether she was conscious or not.  When they arrived, they discovered an elderly woman with no shoes, wet socks, and wrapped in a blanket.  The officers wasted no time buying her a hot meal, but took things a step further when they used their own money to get her some dry clothes, fresh socks, and even put her up in a hotel for three nights. Rowe-PhamA local newsman asked the duo why they had gone above and beyond the call of duty:

“We are just in a situation where we’re blessed and able to help other people. Put yourself in that situation. If it’s my family, my friend, or me in that situation, I’d like somebody to help me.”

With nearly 20 years on the force between them, the duo say it’s not their first time helping out someone in need. Just over two years ago, they were among three officers recognized for buying clothes for a baby left in the cold while its mother was arrested. “That’s just how we are,” said Rowe. “I mean we love to help people.”

A few bad cops have, unfortunately, given police a bad name.  There are bad cops, just as there are bad lawyers, accountants, janitors, teenagers, and … well, name any group, and there are some who set a very bad example.  But we need to try to remember not to judge an entire group by a few.  Remember that old song by the Jackson Five, One Bad Apple?  My hat is off to the officers highlighted above and the many, many others who risk their lives every day to help keep us safe.  Thank you, Officers.

An addendum:  Oh, the irony!  I live in a diverse neighborhood, and seeing the cops here in da ‘hood is not unusual.  As I was writing this piece, around 11:00, there was a loud and non-stop pounding on the front door!  I jumped up, opened the door, and there stood a huge police officer, glaring at me.  Behind him were 3 teenage boys.  He turned to the boys and said, “Is this the lady?”  They looked at me, their eyes grew wide, and all three shook their heads in unison.  The officer apologized, I thanked him for giving me heart failure, and he and the teens went on down the street.  I have no idea what that was about … I’m just glad I wasn’t “the lady” they were seeking!

On Promises …

What is a promise and how important is it?  I rarely make promises … never, unless I am reasonably certain that, barring any unforeseen catastrophic event, I will be able to keep that promise.  Because I live by this standard, my family & friends know that a promise from me has value, is not an empty promise.  A promise, to me, is a symbol of my honour, of my word.  To break a promise is a breach of trust, and trust is important to me.  I find that trust is one of those things that has a very tenuous thread, and once broken, is never fully restored.

With that said, however, promises ought to be right and just.  If I promise Miss Goose that from now on, every meal will consist only of sweet treats, it is a foolish promise, I am a fool for making it, and she is the bigger fool for believing it.  It would be a promise to harm her, as it were, to make her less healthy.  It is what I think of as a negative promise, one that does harm … in other words, a threat.

On the campaign trail from June 2015 to present, Donald Trump made a number of promises to his Kool-Aid-drinking minions.  He promised to build a wall to keep out immigrants on the southern U.S.-Mexican border.  He promised immigration reform and to keep out Muslims.  He promised to undo basically everything that President Obama had done – good, bad or neutral.  He promised to undo the non-existent “war on coal” and bring back jobs in the coal mining industry.  Let’s take a closer look at a couple of Trump’s more egregious promises, or threats, as it were, see where they stand and assess whether they have helped or harmed the nation.

One of the first ones that comes to my mind is his ‘promise’ to repeal ACA, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’.  I’d just like to point out that little word ‘care’ in there.  Well, Trump was unsuccessful, thanks to Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.  However, he has chinked away at ACA by way of executive order, to the point that by the end of this year, there will be several million people without insurance, without access to affordable health care — people who were covered before Trump took office.  The latest assault on ACA came just two days ago, when Trump ordered the halting of billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

Insurers say this move will result in higher premiums for millions of people.  For most of those millions of people, higher premiums mean they will have no choice but to drop their insurance.  It will also lead to insurance companies refusing customers who have pre-existing conditions, else setting the premiums out of reach to such individuals.  Why?  Because Donald Trump made a promise to his base.  Now, never mind that his base will be negatively affected by his keeping of this particular promise as much as any of us.  Frankly, sorry folks, I don’t want to sound cruel, but I will choke on my coffee as I laugh uproariously when I hear the first republican whine and wheedle about not being able to afford her medicine, or having to pay $300 just to see her primary care physician!  ‘Welcome to my world’, I will say!

Let’s talk taxes, shall we?

Trump made a number of tax-related promise/threats.  The first was that he would cut corporate income taxes from 35% to 15%.  Well, he failed in that promise and was only able to cut them down to 21% … do I hear an “awwwwww”?  Another part of his illustrious tax plan was to allow Americans to deduct child care and elder care from their taxes.  Well, folks, sorry to tell you but that one went by the wayside.  Along the same lines, he promised to create tax-free dependent care savings accounts for young and elderly dependents.  Nope, not even on the docket.  Oh … here’s one … he promised to provide matching contributions for low-income families to the dependent care savings accounts!  Nope, not a snowball’s chance in hell.  But what about the one where he promised to incentivize employers to provide on-site child-care services?  Sorry, sucker!  But hey!  Those big corporations got their 14% tax cut, and you know that since they have such big hearts and good intentions, all of that lovely money will ‘trickle down’ to us little folk, right? evil laughBriefly, a few of his other “promises”.  He promised to …

  • Enact new ethics reforms to reduce the corrupting influence of special interests. Um … ethics schmethics.  He has, among his administration, some of the most corrupt individuals in the history of the U.S.  Think Scott Pruitt.  Jared Kushner.  Ivanka Trump. Trump himself.  And the list goes on … and on …
  • Make two- and four-year college more affordable. Trump’s budget contains deep cuts in aid for low-income and first-generation college students. The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a 50-year-old program, for a savings of $732 million, which goes to more than a million poor college kids each year. The budget would also reduce Federal Work Study “significantly” though no dollar figure was given. The tax bill that Trump signed raised taxes on four-year universities. How is any of this making college more affordable???
  • Establish tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free. Well, he established tariffs alright, but the results are the exact opposite of what he promised.  Companies are already beginning to lay off workers, and considering moving operations overseas – think Harley Davidson for starters.

For a more complete list, check out the Trump Promise Tracker in The Washington Post  .  Although it isn’t quite up to date (April 2018) it is the best I’ve found so far.

In short, Trump made some 60+ ‘promises’ to the people of this nation. A handful would have been to the benefit of the people, but those he did not even attempt to keep.  The rest were threats.  The threat to take away healthcare from those of us who are not wealthy.  The threat to decrease corporate taxes, thereby decreasing the nation’s revenue, increasing both debt and deficit, and leaving the rest of us without much needed services that can no longer be funded.  The threat to put “America First”, which has isolated us from our allies, put us in danger of a trade war, and proven to the world that we cannot be trusted to keep our word (Paris Accord, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.).

Promises should be kept.  Unless they are the wrong thing, made for all the wrong reasons, but then they are not promises, they are threats.  Trust is earned.  Loyalty is earned.  Need I say more?

The Impossible Dream …

Yesterday, I posted the John Lennon song, Imagine, and most of you liked it and noted how wonderful it would be to live in the world of Lennon’s imagination.  Last night, our friend Nan made the following comment:

As much as I regret saying it, I fear his words will remain as “imagination” for the foreseeable future.
But it is nice to dream such a dream …

On reading her comment, another song immediately came to mind, and I share it with you today, for I think it is fitting for the moment.  There are many, many versions of this by a variety of singers (even Gomer Pyle did one!) but this is the man, Richard Kiley, who sang the original in Man of La Mancha, and I find it the most moving and powerful …

The Impossible Dream

Lyrics by Joe Darion
Music by Mitch Leigh

To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unbeatable foe,
to bear with unbearable sorrow,
to run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
to love pure and chaste from afar,
to try when your arms are too weary,
to reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest,
to follow that star —
no matter how hopeless,
no matter how far.

To fight for the right
without question or pause,
to be willing to march into hell for a
heavenly cause.

And I know if I’ll only be true to this
glorious quest
that my heart will be peaceful and calm
when I’m laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
that one man scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last ounce of courage.
To reach the unreachable stars.

When They Go Low …

Okay, folks … we need to do better.  Midterm elections are in just under four months, we have some inherent advantages going into the elections, but we also have some significant disadvantages, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot!

This morning’s Washington Post reports that members of Trump’s staff are being subjected to public humiliation, taunts, hecklers and even thinly-veiled threats.  Those who engage in such behaviours are doing two things:  they are lowering ‘us’ to ‘their’ level, and they are damaging the image of all democrats.

Mind you, I understand the urge.  Donald Trump is disgusting, as are the majority of his staff and cabinet members, not to mention a large number of the members of Congress.  Together, they have made a mockery of all we thought this nation stood for, and they are seemingly intent on destroying the U.S. Constitution within four years. The desire to confront and denigrate them is one we can all relate to.  BUT … in this case, the old saying ‘fight fire with fire’ is wrong and is going to cost the nation if this insanity continues.  Sure, it may be fun to yell at Kellyanne Conway, telling her she should ‘be ashamed’, but what does it gain, really?

First, there was the owner of the Red Hen restaurant who asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family to leave.  A week ago, a teacher interrupted her lunch at a restaurant to tell Scott Pruitt — eating with an aide a few feet away — that he should resign as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  On at least two occasions, demonstrators have assembled outside the home of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.  Two weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen walked out of a downtown Mexican restaurant after demonstrators followed her inside to rail against the administration for separating children from migrant parents. “Shame!” the protesters shouted while Nielsen remained in her seat, her head down as she typed messages on her smartphone.

Then last month, Congresswoman Maxine Waters issued the following plea:

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them!”

Predictably, Trump shot back by calling her a low-IQ person, as he always does when he doesn’t know what else to say, and then claimed that she had called for harm to his supporters, which was not true, but when did Trump ever let a little thing like the truth get in his way?  Still, Ms. Waters was wrong and those who are taking her words literally and acting upon them are also wrong.  What is the difference, I ask you dear readers, between what Ms. Waters said and the times Trump has said similar things at his rallies?  There is no difference and two wrongs do not make a right.

We are playing right into the hands of the Trump administration and the GOP.  Newt Gingrich was buoyed by the very public protests, saying, “They should take solace in the fact that we must be winning, since these people are so crazy. They used to be passive because they thought they were the future. Now they know we’re the future, and it’s driving them nuts.”

The November mid-terms hold enough challenges for democrats as it is.  There are gerrymandered districts, designed to concentrate the minority vote into only a few districts.  There are challenges such as states trying to pass stricter and more restrictive voter ID requirements.  Polling places are being reduced and the hours cut back, especially in areas where there is a concentration of poor or minority voters.  At least one state has passed a law making it legal to remove voters from the rolls if they have not voted for the last two years.  And then there is the anticipated interference by Russia, which has been verified by officials throughout the security community, but little appears to be being done to stop it.  With all these challenges, we do not need to act like 10-year-old children and tarnish our image, for you know that the COP will pounce on any opportunity to highlight our mistakes.

We all have a voice and we should use it.  Write OpEds, write a blog, reach out to the opposition, help your local party canvass the neighborhood, and most important of all, use your voice to VOTE on November 6th.  Use your voice wisely, for if you don’t, we may all stand to lose our voices.

I have no respect or tolerance for the likes of Conway, Sanders, Miller, Nielsen or any of the other sycophants who slavishly follow Trump.  BUT … I believe that no matter how obnoxious they are, they are entitled to a personal life without being provoked and harassed because of their job. The vast majority of Trump’s more well-known staff and cabinet members do not deserve the positions they hold.  They do not deserve their hefty salaries that are paid from our tax dollars.  However they also do not deserve public harassment and their families should always, always be off-limits.  Democrat or republican should not matter … we are human beings and adults, let’s try to act like it?

Afternoon Snarky Snippets …

Call it mind-bounce, call it angst, call it fed-up-with-Trump syndrome … whatever it is, it is interfering with my ability to settle in on a single topic today, so I decided to vent on a few topics.  Sometimes getting some of the detritus out of the way helps me focus.

First, the good news …

Eight of the boys who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand since June 23rd have been brought out to safety!  Four boys and the coach remain in the flooded cave and it is hoped that they can be rescued tomorrow.  The boys are being kept in quarantine in a hospital to ensure they haven’t picked up any diseases.  rescueI am disturbed, however, by the fact that they have not yet been allowed to see their parents.  It seems unnecessarily cruel to both the children and the parents, and the parents do not even know which boys have been rescued and which remain in the cave. Psychologists already anticipate that the boys are likely to suffer from short-term psychological symptoms.  I am not a psychologist, but just from the standpoint of a human and a parent, it seems that the most important thing at this point would be reuniting the boys with their parents, letting them feel secure in the embrace of their moms and dads.  But what do I know, right?

Anyway, I am thrilled that the eight boys so far have been rescued and seem to be in good health overall, and hope that the other four and the coach will be brought to safety tomorrow.

Scott Pruitt – one final bootlicking …

As we all know by now, Scott Pruitt resigned his position as head of the Environmental Protection Agency last week amid numerous major scandals.  His resignation letter is something to behold, a true work of … I don’t even know the word for it.  Here, in all its glory, is the letter, with my snarky remarkys in blue

“Mr. President, it has been an honor to serve you in the Cabinet as Administrator of the EPA. Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated at the beginning of your Administration. Your courage (you have GOT to be kidding!!!), steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people, both with regard to improved environmental outcomes (define ‘improved’, please?) as well as historical regulatory reform (reform = destruction), is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.

That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6. It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing (define ‘blessing’?) to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us (Awwwww, pobrecito).

My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people. I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence (spare me the bullpoop!!!). I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people. Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.”

PruittDoes anybody else feel ill?  You may notice that he didn’t even mention any of the scandals surrounding him?  Happily, the 14 or so investigations of ethics violations will continue and he remains under the gun.  If it is found that he is guilty of ethics violations, it will be up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to decide whether to prosecute.  Anybody want to guess how that is likely to go?

Even his friends don’t like the tariffs …

Even some of Trump’s closest allies in Congress are unhappy about the trade tariffs he unleashed last month.  Senator Orrin Hatch, a close ally of Trump’s, reportedly said of the tariffs, “I’d like to kill ’em.”  Republican senators say they can’t get the president to comprehend that his tariffs offensive could upend the mid-term elections. Commodity prices in the heartland are sagging, U.S. allies are retaliating with tariffs of their own — and GOP leaders are fretting that the booming economy is about to go into a pre-midterms nosedive.

My response to all that is, “you reap what you sow”.  The republicans in Congress have blindly followed and supported Donald Trump through some of the most abhorrent decisions ever made by a U.S. president.  They have shoved aside their constituents in favour of the upper echelons that Trump so loves.  And so, when it comes home to roost, when the voters in their states finally say “ENOUGH!!!”, I will have not one shred of empathy for these jerks.

The games people play …

Paul Manafort’s trial is scheduled to begin later this month.  Any bets as to whether it will or not?  Thus far, Manafort has asked for a delay and a change of venue.  Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman and a subject of Robert Mueller’s investigation, since he has close and proven ties to a number of Russians, is accused of both bank and tax fraud.

Paul Manafort.In requesting the move and the delay, Manafort’s attorneys cited intense negative publicity surrounding his prosecution by special counsel Robert Mueller. Yes, well???  You play, you pay … eventually.  I am ready for somebody … anybody … to start facing the consequences of this huge criminal scandal that handed the 2016 election to the least qualified candidate imaginable.  I suspect that once the first one falls, the rest will follow.  We may need to build a new federal penitentiary to hold them all!  Frankly, I will be doing the Snoopy Happy Dance in the middle of the street!

And thus concludes my mini-rants for today.  I shall now go clean a bathroom or two and think about preparing supper later on … lemon-chicken, broccoli and wild rice is on the docket for tonight, and I will be teaching Miss Goose how to make the chicken.  Perhaps someday she can fix supper and I can take a nap!  Have a great evening, friends!

Imagine …

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Songwriters: John Winston Lennon
Imagine lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

“How do we make people vote?”

The mid-term elections are now less than four months away, and those of us who are determined to get the boot-lickers out of Congress and elect men & women who are willing to rein in Donald Trump, to hold him accountable for his actions and sometimes be willing to ‘just say no’, are concerned. We are hopeful in some of the up-and-coming candidates, we are hopeful because democrats are in the majority, albeit a silent majority sometimes, of voters. But we are also concerned because far too many people do not bother to vote, for one reason or another. My usual tactic is to be a bit of a bully, trying to guilt people into casting a vote. But fellow blogger Tokyo Sand suggests that another way might be more effective, and in many cases, I am inclined to agree. Please take a minute to read this excellent post and give it some thought! Thank you Tokyo Sand for such an excellent post and your generous permission to share.



“How do we make people vote?”

It’s the question of the moment, isn’t it. I get this question a lot. There are millions of us who hate the direction this country is going, and understand that the solution is to vote the Republicans out of office.

We know there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. We also know there are a lot of Independents who could be voting for the Democratic candidates, too.

This country needs a constellation of solutions to tackle our atrocious turnout rates, but what we need is something you and I can do today. Right now. What steps can we take immediately to help us get what we desperately need in November, i.e. votes.

After receiving an odd bit of inspiration, I’ve realized that “How do we make people vote?” is the wrong question. Really wrong.

When you “make” someone do something, you’re forcing them…

View original post 528 more words

If It Ain’t Broke …

There is a saying on this side of the pond, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  Now, while I admit that there are exceptions to this, for the most part I find it to be sage advice.  A few examples …

Tide Pods

Recently Proctor and Gamble, the makers of Tide laundry detergent, decided to re-design the lids to their Tide Pods product.  There was nothing wrong with the old lid.  I buy the 150 count container once a month, and have never once had a complaint about the lid … until two months ago.  Used to be, the lid had a little indentation in which to place your thumb, then simply pop the hinged top up, grab a pod and give the lid a little push to close it again.  Simple and can be done with one hand, since the other hand is typically otherwise occupied.

But then … some bozo over at P&G with too much time in his hands said to no one in particular, “Hey, I got an idea … let’s make the lids on Tide Pods impossible to open!”  And somebody else with a budget bigger than their brains thought it was a wonderful idea, and it took off from there.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in r&d costs later, the idea was good to go.  P&G spent a few more hundreds of thousands to re-tool their assembly line in order to manufacture …Tide pods

A child-proof lid!  Whoa … I did not realize that so many children were into eating laundry detergent!  And wait, is it too much trouble for parents of small children to place their pods on a shelf above the washing machine so that the tots cannot reach it?  I know, I hear you shaking your heads and saying, “What the heck is she prattling about now – what’s the big deal?”

Well, let me tell you the big deal, friends!  The lid is made such that one must either have very large, strong hands, else use two hands, and even then it is difficult to open.  The two “press here” spots are about six inches apart and are very difficult to press in. They are obviously made for someone of Paul Bunyan’s stature, but I have small, arthritic hands and I cannot open this! My solution has been to use a sharp knife to break the lid off completely, throw the lid away and leave the pods on the rack shelf next to the washer/dryer uncovered.  It is the only way!

Toaster Scrambles

Toaster Scrambles, made by Pillsbury, are one of the few processed foods that I even buy, for I am a firm believer that ‘made from scratch’ is tastier, more economical and healthier.  But, when it comes to breakfast, if I cannot grab something quick, simple & tasty, I just skip the meal altogether and wait for supper (I don’t do lunch … ever!).  So, I keep a few such things around, coffee-flavoured yogurt, granola, instant oatmeal and toaster scrambles.  I like these …


But then, Pillsbury decided to change it around a bit.  They added potatoes.


WHY???  To cut the cost of the product, of course!  Potatoes are cheaper than eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage, so if they added potatoes, they could cut back on the more expensive ingredients.  They also cut back on the flavour, and now I honestly cannot tell the difference in taste between the pastry itself and the cardboard box it comes in!  I’m going back to my banana-walnut oatmeal with a dollop of peanut-butter.

I actually sent Pillsbury an email telling them that I was disgusted with the new product and would not buy them again.  I received a canned response thanking me for taking the time to write.

Faucet aerators

Recently the maintenance crew where I live came along and, without so much as asking if I would like new faucet aerators, installed them in all three bathroom sinks and the kitchen, as well as new shower heads in the two upstairs baths.  These devices are supposedly ‘new and improved’ and will save on water.  Sigh.  The old ones worked fine, in fact, about a year ago I had replaced all the bathroom sink aerators, and I replace the one in the kitchen from time-to-time.  No, I am not a plumber by trade, but I know my way around the workings of faucets, drains and toilets.  Feel free to call me anytime … I make house calls.

So, after the maintenance dudes did all this, I went to the sink, turned the water on, and wondered what that was coming out of the spigot … a stream of bird pee, perhaps?  I held my hands under it and within about 30 seconds, they were actually wet enough to apply soap!  Before, I could fill my kitchen sink in about a minute, but with this new and improved aerator, it took fully 5 minutes!!!  Now, how the sam hell is this saving water?  On to the shower … AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHH!!!  It took three times as long to wash my body, then about 2-3 minutes to get my hair wet enough to apply shampoo, then another 2-3 minutes to get all the suds out.  I didn’t even bother with conditioner.

Even tooth-brushing was a challenge!

Suffice it to say that both shower heads and all four faucet aerators have now been replaced with ones that actually work.  Note, please, that I am all for conserving water, and I try very hard to do so, but when I spend 4 times longer in the shower, it did not save any water, and it did likely shorten my expected life span!

These were just three such cases that have set my teeth on edge lately, though I could no doubt think of many more, given time and space.  There is, of course, the opposite argument that is best stated in this cartoon …If it ain't broke