From Bad To Worse …

The first news I saw this morning was that Tillerson had been fired, which anybody with half a brain predicted months ago.  Now, Tillerson was highly unqualified for the job of Secretary of State, as I wrote in May 2017.  However, in defense of Mr. Tillerson, he was trying to learn his job, was trying, I think, to do the right thing.  Or perhaps I am only in his corner because he had the nerve to call Donald Trump a moron last October.

At any rate, Tillerson is out and in his place comes Mike Pompeo, who until today was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Now, I know that hearing me say what I’m about to say is getting old and you’re tired of hearing it, but hey … I’m not the one who keeps finding these people.  Mike Pompeo is highly unqualified to be in the position of Secretary of State.  Surprised, aren’t you?  Let’s take a brief look at ol’ Mikey …

He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from West Point in 1986, and with a JD from Harvard Law School in 1994.  And what has he done since then?  He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 until Trump tapped him for the CIA position almost immediately after the 2016 election.  His political views make him a perfect fit for the Trump ‘team’, for he leans far to the right and is or was a member of the “Tea Party” movement.  Let’s take a closer look … you may want to make sure you have an antacid close by …

On climate change and protecting the environment:

“There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”  (Seriously?  It seems that I recall reading that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.)

“Federal policy should be about the American family, not worshipping a radical environmental agenda.”  (Just how long do you think the American family will continue to exist if we don’t protect our home, the planet Earth, Mr. P?)

He also opposes the regulation of Greenhouse gas emissions by the United States, and supports eliminating the United States federal register of greenhouse gas emissions.  Are you beginning to understand why Trump picked him?

He has called for the permanent elimination of wind power production tax credits, calling them an “enormous government handout”.

Pompeo is a member of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the conservative political advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers.  Their agenda, naturally, is to place as many far-right candidates in key Congressional positions as possible.  To that tune, during the 2014 election season, the Koch brothers, David and Charles, contributed nearly a half-million dollars to Pompeo’s campaign.  He signed the AFP’s “No Climate Tax” pledge …No climate tax pledgeAnd the AFP isn’t his only connection to the infamous Kochs.  In 1998, Pompeo co-founded Thayer Aerospace and Private Security, funded in part by investments by the Koch brothers.

He opposes same-sex marriage, opposes workplace protection for the LGBT community, which has earned him a zero rating with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  But I know you’ll be happy to hear that he has an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association (NRA)!

Toward the latter part of his short tenure, Tillerson seemed to be stepping up to the plate, and only yesterday condemned Russia for the chemical attack against a former Russian spy in the UK – a stance that the Trump White House refused to take, and one that was likely the straw that broke the camel’s back for Tillerson’s tenure in the State Department.  Tillerson was not an ideal Secretary of State, but it is the opinion of this writer that Pompeo will be worse.  Trump has made a shambles of our relations with allies across the pond, and Pompeo is likely to support Trump blindly, causing even more rifts.  Pompeo has absolutely zero foreign policy experience, and has rigid, uncompromising views on human rights.  This is not what we need, especially as Trump heads to his first meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

Pompeo will have to be confirmed by the Senate, of course, but as we have seen in the past 14 months, that is a rubber stamp, as the republicans in the Senate continue to lick Trump’s boots.


What a complete and total waste of taxpayer’s hard-earned money!  What a travesty of justice!

The headline:

Republicans on House Panel Find No Evidence of Collusion, Russian Preference for Trump

“We’ve found no evidence of collusion … perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment at taking meetings … only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, meetings, whatever and weave that into some sort of a fiction, page turner spy thriller.  We’re not dealing in fiction, we’re dealing in facts, and we found no evidence of any collusion.” – Republican Representative K. Michael Conaway

Either this man is lying through his teeth, as is every member of that panel, else they did not even open their eyes during their entire investigation.  There is so much smoke that the building is nearly up in flames, and they conclude that there is no fire, and ‘let’s go back to sleep now, boys’.  I wonder how they plan to justify their conclusions when Robert Mueller finalizes his report and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was mass collusion between multiple members of the Trump campaign and the Russians?  They will either be proven liars or ignorant fools. Or both.

Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking democrat on the panel, said just last month that based on what he had seen, there was “ample evidence” of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.  Democrats’ requests for subpoenas for hostile witnesses have been ignored by the panel.  Conaway’s response?  “We’ve interviewed everyone we think we need to interview.”  FOUL!!!

Democrats were not involved with drafting the GOP’s report and were not presented with a copy of the findings.  Conaway said democrats would receive a copy of the report on Tuesday, and the final copy is expected to be made public sometime in April.

Now I ask you this:  How, with all the indictments and guilty pleas that have been a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation, can the House panel simply close their eyes and say, “Nope, nothing to see here, folks.”?  HOW???

Here is the list of the republicans on the panel:And here is the comprehensive list as of February 28 of all who have been indicted and/or made plea deals as a result of the Mueller investigation:

1) George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty in October to making false statements to the FBI.

2) Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December to making false statements to the FBI.

3) Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, was indicted in October in Washington, DC on charges of conspiracy, money laundering, false statements, and failure to disclose foreign assets — all related to his work for Ukrainian politicians before he joined the Trump campaign. He’s pleaded not guilty on all counts. Then, in February, Mueller filed a new case against him in Virginia, with tax, financial, and bank fraud charges.

4) Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, was indicted on similar charges to Manafort. But he has now agreed to a plea deal with Mueller’s team, pleading guilty to just one false statements charge and one conspiracy charge.

5-20) 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies were indicted on conspiracy charges, with some also being accused of identity theft. The charges related to a Russian propaganda effort designed to interfere with the 2016 campaign. The companies involved are the Internet Research Agency, often described as a “Russian troll farm,” and two other companies that helped finance it. The Russian nationals indicted include 12 of the agency’s employees and its alleged financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

21) Richard Pinedo: This California man pleaded guilty to an identity theft charge in connection with the Russian indictments, and has agreed to cooperate with Mueller.

22) Alex van der Zwaan: This London lawyer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Rick Gates and another unnamed person based in Ukraine.

Nope, no collusion here … nothing to see here … move along and let’s get busy building that wall, mining more coal, trashing more federal lands to drill for oil, and put all this nonsense about collusion behind us, right?


Look once again at that list of the members of the investigative panel.  They should not even have their name on the ballot in November, let alone be re-elected.  Did they bow to pressure from Trump?  Do they really believe that We The People are so stupid as to buy their garbage?  Was there pressure from someone other than Trump?  Were rewards offered, perhaps campaign donations to add to their coffers?  Or were they simply tired of pretending to do a job, the one for which we pay them?  I don’t know the answers, but I do know that their consciences ought to be keeping them awake as I write this post.  I do know that they are Dishonest with a capital ‘D’.  And I do know they do not deserve our respect nor our votes.

Trump was fairly please, as he tweeted …


7:49 PM – 12 Mar 2018

Ultimately, it appears, the only investigation that will get to the truth is that by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  If something happens that disrupts his investigation, that halts it, we will have no justice in this nation, now or likely ever again.  I will be tweeting this post directly to the two panel members from my state, as well as to Trump.

Is Roger Stone Next On FBI’s Special Counsel Mueller’s Dance Card?

Ol’ Roger Stone is back in the headlines. Is it possible that he is about to finally get what he deserves? Please take a minute to read this post by our friend Gronda who has done her homework on this one, as always! Thank you, Gronda!!!

Gronda Morin


My guess is that Roger Stone, a long time political strategist and friend to the republican President Donald Trump will be next on the FBI”s Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russian probe to be invited for an interview where his testimony will be given under oath.

The circumstantial case that I have developed from public information leads me to think this. First, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort were business partners for years and their firm had actually previously done lobbying work on behalf of the president during his casino business days. Roger Stone has ties to Russia going way back and so does Paul Manafort.

As per the 8/6/15 Hill report by Mark Hensch, Roger Stone said he (was) resigning from the New York business mogul’s political team after concluding he is not aiding its progress…
“I resigned largely because I thought I was having no impact,” Stone told host Poppy…

View original post 1,455 more words

Don’t Be Fooled, Pennsylvanians!

On Tuesday, the good people in the 18th congressional district of Pennsylvania will head to the polls to choose a new representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.  I am begging you, Pennsylvania, to please, please vote with your heads and do not send Rick Saccone to Washington!  We do not need any more of his ilk … we already have plenty like him!

In January, I wrote a piece about Mr. Saccone, who is running against the democratic candidate, Conor Lamb.  A quick overview of the reasons not to vote for this ‘man’:

  • He is such a staunch supporter of gun rights for all, that he tried to push through a bill to force children’s restaurant/entertainment center, Chuck E. Cheese, to allow people to carry guns into the establishment. He claimed that to bar guns inside the restaurant was discriminatory.  Children’s lives matter less to this man than adult’s feelings.

  • He eschews freedom of religion, as he tried (and luckily failed) to pass a bill that would have required public school districts in Pennsylvania to post “In God We Trust”in every school building.

  • He supports budget cuts to K-12 education, childhood education programs, public libraries, child welfare, and other state programs as a means to reducing federal debt.

  • His own legislative expenditures far exceed those of his fellow representatives in the state legislature.

  • He holds a Christian nationalist ideology that seeks to institute a nation governed by conservative Christians based on their personal understandings of biblical law. (Hey, bud – ever hear of the 1st Amendment, or is the 2nd the only one you remember?)

  • He defended sexual predator and child molester Roy Moore during Moore’s failed Alabama senate bid last December.

I think this should be enough to convince every voter that we do not need his kind in the federal government, though to be sure, there are already plenty there that believe as he does.  Until a week ago, I had written Saccone off as a loser, certain that Conor Lamb would carry the day.  But …

A series of events took place that may well shove Saccone down the throats of an unsuspecting public.  First, there was Trump’s announcement that he is imposing import tariffs on steel coming into the country.  Pennsylvania is a steel-producing state.  Approximately 14% of the nation’s steelworkers are in Pennsylvania. Though there are some 34,000 currently employed in the steel-related industry, most experts agree that the tariffs won’t add many jobs in Pennsylvania, and will cost jobs in other industries.  However, the facts are often not the point, and to make certain that Pennsylvanians didn’t get their heads filled with too many facts, guess who arrived on the scene?

Donald Trump entered the fray this weekend to stump for Saccone.    While Trump spent the bulk of his 75-minute speech tooting his own horn, as is typical of Trump, he did manage to get in a few plugs for Saccone.

“I love this place. Hello, Pittsburgh! Hello, Pittsburgh! You know what? Do me a favor — get out on Tuesday, vote for Rick Saccone. Personally, I like Rick Saccone. I think he’s handsome. (Seriously???) The world is watching. I hate to put this pressure on you, Rick, but the world is watching, because I won this district.”

Conor Lamb (left) & Rick Saccone

Okay, so it’s not exactly a glowing recommendation, but the people in the crowds ate it up and cheered Trump and Saccone.  Perhaps more important is the media.  The largest newspaper in southwest Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has glowingly endorsed Saccone.  And not only did they endorse Saccone, but they took the opportunity to take a swipe at Conor Lamb for something he hasn’t even mentioned.  They claimed that Democratic control of the House would hurt the country by setting the stage for a presidential impeachment, and that a Democratic House would drive the country to “distraction” by immediately pushing to impeach Trump.  Lamb has not once mentioned impeachment.

“If Mr. Lamb, 33, wins, it could well be the start of a Democratic wave. The prospect of a Democratic House may please partisans, but it might be bad for the country. The Democrats in the House have only one agenda item at the moment, and it isn’t health care or jobs. It is impeachment. Regardless of whether one likes this president or his policies, one must ask what the consequence for the country will be if we dive into so great a distraction.” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11 March 2018

Now, Conor Lamb has had the support of the unions, even deep in what is called ‘Trump Country’.  But it remains unclear how the news of the steel tariffs, as well as Trump’s claim to bring back the coal industry, for Pennsylvania is also a coal-mining state, may affect voters’ views.  The race at the moment is very close, being called a ‘dead heat’.  Again, I urge you, Pennsylvanians, do not be swayed by Trump’s and Saccone’s words, for we do not need a bigoted, guns-on-steroids idiot taking a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives!

Jolly Daylight Savings Time Monday!!! 😴

Good Monday morning and welcome, dear friends!  I know you all must be extra tired this morning, having lost an hour’s sleep this weekend!  Me?  Oh sure, I’m perky, but then … I don’t have to put on a suit and head out to work today, so I can afford to be a bit perky, knowing that a nap lies waiting for me in an hour or two!  Anyway, I do hope you all had a good weekend!  I mostly stayed in, just a brief foray out yesterday evening for supper.  Daughter Chris had to play and march in the St. Patrick Day parade downtown on Saturday, and the poor girl fell walking from her car to the parade route and skinned her knee terribly!  She is short … just over 5 feet … and had her drum attached to her front, so she wasn’t able to see that the pavement rose in front of her.  The drum is pretty well dinged up, too!  I took a picture of her knee and was planning to include it here, but … um … well … I was more or less informed that it was a bad idea if I wished to continue to live in this household, so … sorry, folks, no bad knee pics today!

Since I knew how tired you would all be this morning, I made the coffee extra strong and tried to make the humour extra fun!  So grab a cuppa and settle in for a bit of fun before you have to head on out the door.

Pancake jammies?

Is there anybody in the U.S. who hasn’t eaten at an IHOP restaurant?  I just read that IHOP is planning an expansion into the UK and Ireland, but I don’t think they are there yet.  Anyway, here in the U.S., it is the numero uno place to go for breakfast.  Pancakes, french toast, omelets … you name it.  Sadly, of course, I am unable to have pancakes and must settle for eggs, but still the food is good and it is a fun treat. IHOP has now decided to branch out, however, and they have rolled out a breakfast-themed clothing line called PancakeWear!

The colorful, one-of-a-kind lineup features adult- and child-sized one pieces and lounge pants as well as socks.  According to Stephanie Peterson, Executive Director, Communications at IHOP …

“Breakfast and laid-back loungewear just go together at IHOP so we thought it would be fun to design a limited-edition merchandise collection that reflects the spirit of the brand and what we see in our restaurants all the time – people in pajamas enjoying pancakes.”

What?  Wait a minute … I’ve never gone to IHOP in my jammies, and have never seen others there in theirs, either.  What am I missing?

But the best news …

“PancakeWear by IHOP was launched to celebrate our 60th anniversary as a brand, but also to do a lot of good for our largest charity partner Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. A portion of proceeds from every sale of our breakfast-inspired one pieces, lounge pants and socks directly supports CMN Hospitals and the more than 10 million kids that are treated every year at their 170 affiliated facilities.”

The company plans to raise $5 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through the sales of clothing and other events.  A fun thing for a good cause, yes?

R.I.P. Target …

I remember when my favourite book shop, Borders Books, closed at the end of 2010.  I was crushed, for we used to go there every weekend.  They had the nicest staff, and the best kids’ area of any book shop I have ever been in.  But, alas, they were shortsighted and did not keep up as they should, with Amazon and Barnes & Noble snapping up the online and e-book markets, so ultimately they failed.  But even crushed though I was, I did not do what the people of Hutchinson, Kansas, did when their local Target store closed.  What did they do?  Why, they held a candlelight vigil, of course!The mourners included some who identified themselves as Target employees and a couple of the participants dressed in the store’s khaki pants and red shirt combo.  And while some of the participants in the vigil made their candles the last purchase they ever made from the Target location, others admitted they bought their candles at competing store Wal-mart.  GASP!!!  😲

As a tribute, the mourners played “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic.

This must be some new trend, for back in January, in Montgomery, Alabama, the community turned out in force for a candlelight vigil to memorialize a Taco Bell restaurant that had been destroyed by fire earlier in the month. Personally, if my Target store closed, I wouldn’t care much one way or another.  If my local Wal-Mart closed, I would cheer and hold a celebratory parade!  Have I mentioned before that I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart?

Stuffed or not?

Imagine that you are finally, after years of dreading it, getting ready to go through your child’s collection of stuffed animals and donate the ones that aren’t missing body parts, to a charity.  Your child has just graduated college and is off on a hiking tour somewhere in the Alps, so what better time, right?  So, you go through the stuffed critters one by one and put them in large trash bags … these for charity, those for the rubbish.  Just as you finish, you notice that one of the bags is … moving!  Cautiously, you open the bag to find …A ferret snuggling in amidst the teddy bears!!!  No, not a stuffed ferret … a real, live, warm-blooded ferret looking up at you with cute little dark eyes.

The anonymous woman was in her garage in Woldingham, England, when this happened, and she immediately contacted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  They took the ferret to the vet, who determined she was underweight, but otherwise healthy.  She was named Honey, and is now available for adoption.  If I had been that woman, I would have kept her, bought her a bed, some toys, and called her Missus Beasley.  But then, I’m an animal lover, in case you didn’t know.

Where have all the chickens gone? 

Some restaurants are known for solely one thing.  Earlier I talked about IHOP, and they are known mostly for pancakes, but they have a wide variety of offerings to choose from.  Even Burger King is known mostly for burgers, but they also do chicken and fish sammies.  But Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC, is known for one thing and only one thing:  chicken.  So how do you explain KFC running out of … chicken???It happened in the United Kingdom where not just a few, but hundreds of KFC restaurants were shuttered for days because they ran out of chicken.  How did this happen?  They changed their distributor from a company called Bidvest, to DHL.  DHL, it turns out, had promised to “set a new delivery standard”.  🤣  I’m sure KFC managers aren’t laughing, but you’ve got to admit there’s humour here.  DHL promised a new delivery standard and then didn’t deliver any chicken … that is certainly a new standard!  🤣 🤣 🤣

Fully 562 of the 900 KFC’s in the UK were shuttered.  The company did offer a uniquely humorous apology, however …

Although I was not able to confirm, it appears that most stores are now back in the business of frying and selling chicken!  This is the stuff that corporate ulcers are made of, and I would be willing to bet a few heads rolled.

Alright, friends … um … friends? 😴  WAKE UP!!!  It’s time to go to work!  Sheesh … and I even added a few shots of espresso to the coffee!  Listen up now … I need you to do me a big favour and be sure to share those beautiful smiles with someone today, okay?  Tough times … we all need a bit of a boost, especially on a Monday.  Keep safe and have a wonderful week!!!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!


A Few Bad Teachers …

Is anybody convinced by the rhetoric from Trump and the NRA that teachers carrying guns in the classroom is a good idea?  Three stories in the news this week should convince us all that to arm teachers in schools is possibly the worst idea since the paper dress in the 1960s.

Poor Judgement???

Both of these stories took place in Florida, the first is David Swinyar, a math teacher at Kernan Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Swinyar likes to use the ‘N-word’ in his class.  In October, he finally went too far …

“If your boyfriend says bad things to you and/or treats you wrong, that means he’s acting like a n—–. You all should not be dating all these different African American boys because they are not worth it.”

It was not just one or two students who reported Swinyar’s words, but a majority of the class.  An investigation was opened on October 6, 2017, after numerous student complaints were received.  Most of the accusations were deemed credible and substantiated:

“SUBSTANTIATED: There is credible evidence to support that Mr. Swinyar engaged in inappropriate communication in the presence of, and/or toward students, by using the “n” word in a conversation with students and/or when he referred to a student. He also made other inappropriate comments such as, calling students “dumb”. “You are in my class because you failed the FSA [Florida Standards Assessment].”  Additionally, he made comments like, “You all should not be dating all these different African American boys because they are not worth it.””

The school has 1,148 students — 22.6% of whom are African American.

One young man was so horrified by Swinyar’s racist remarks that he left the classroom to use the phone in the school office to call his mother.  “Mr. Swinyar yelled at the student and called the student a liar,” an office assistant told investigators. “He also snatched the phone away from the student.”

So what, you ask, has happened to Mr. Swinyar since the investigation concluded?  He received a 10-day suspension without pay.  Yes, 10 days.  Since Swinyar has filed an appeal, the school district was unable to provide much information, but they said it was found that Swinyar used ‘poor judgement’.  It was also indicated that at the end of Mr. Swinyar’s suspension, he will be re-assigned to a position where he has no contact with students for the remainder of the school year.


Dayanna Volitich is a middle school teacher in Citrus County School District, about 80 miles north of Tampa, Florida.  She teaches Social Studies. Last week, school district officials were made aware by the Huffington Post that Ms. Volitich is closely affiliated with a podcast and a Twitter account — which Ms. Volitich operated under the pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov” — that perpetuates racism and white supremacism.  On the podcast, called “Unapologetic”, she bragged of preaching white nationalism in her classroom — and hiding it from administrators.

In tweets, she makes reference to the “horrors of #Islam,” attacks the concept of white privilege, and says that it isn’t “hateful or supremacist to prefer your own people over others.”

In a recent podcast …

“This is — so many researchers have already looked into this, and that’s just the way it is. There are races that have higher IQs than others.”

On the same podcast, Volitich and her guest Lana Lokteff spent time bashing feminism, calling the concept a “devious plot to undermine white families”.  And when asked if she was able to promote her ideas in the classroom, Volitich/Dalichov replied that she plays by the rules when her supervisors are watching, but lets the children know that it’s all an act — a “dog-and-pony show,” as she called it — and asks them to “play along.”

In other episodes, she has said …

“Honestly, I wouldn’t be adverse [sic] to just annihilating the entire country of North Korea. Just get rid of it.”

“Islam does not belong here. It is an ideology built upon the premise of violence. A religion whose followers are taught in the Qu’ran itself to kill nonbelievers and follow the example of a hedonistic cult leader desperate for power and blood,” she wrote. “It clashes with everything this country stands for and puts Western civilization at risk. Speaking the truth about Islam is not bigotry. Being critical of Islam is not racist or Islamophobic.”

And she may just be related to Alex Jones, for she has determined that the shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14th where 17 were killed was some sort of a conspiracy. She also exchanged messages with students at Dalton High School, criticizing their views:

“If you’re traumatized, why are you even on Twitter right now?”

 “Just because you are afraid doesn’t mean it wasn’t staged.”

 “That doesn’t negate the fact that it was probably a political stunt designed to advance an anti-gun agenda.”

Ms. Volitich has been removed from the classroom pending an investigation, but her employment has not been terminated at this time.  Ms. Volitich is arguing that her podcast was merely satire, despite the fact that she has praised such white supremacists as Arthur Jones, Patrick Casey and former KKK grand wizard David Duke.

All for the Love of a Mouse?

And finally, in Leesville, Louisiana, a high school math teacher, Randolph Perez, is under investigation for displaying the following message on the whiteboard in his classroom after a computer mouse went amiss:

“Welcome to Room 312. To the moronic, self obsessed ethnic who stole the mouse from the back computer: the fact that you do not know both your parents, and that the so called adults that are caring for you can not afford a five dollar part because they are too busy buying drugs and coring cigars at the Shop-Rite does not change the fact that you are nothing more than a two bit thief and a waste of carbon and oxygen.”

An investigation was opened last week, but no word on Perez’ fate.

This post made me physically ill to write.  As a parent, as a former school board advocate, as a human being, it is inconceivable to me that anybody would hold the narrow-minded, bigoted views of these individuals.  I have many, many friends who are in the teaching profession, many are special education teachers.  Teachers are not highly paid, and I typically believe that they do what they do out of love for children, out of a desire to help young people grow into well-rounded, compassionate adults, out of a desire to be a part of making our world a little bit better.  We must be careful not to judge the entire profession by the acts of these abominable creatures.  However, I cannot help wondering if this is the new ‘wave of the future’? If, as the dredges of society are coming out from under the rocks since Donald Trump declared that there is no more ‘political correctness’ (another term for civil discourse), they are infiltrating even our schools?  And I know that with people like these leading classrooms, it is insanity to consider arming teachers with loaded guns!

NRA Decides Constitutionality???

In the annals of lawsuits, this one has to rank right up there with the old woman who sued McDonalds (and won) for making the coffee too hot and she was burned when she foolishly spilled it between her legs.  Who’s suing who, you ask?  The plaintiff in the case, the sue-er, is none other than the infamous National Rifle Association, the NRA.  The defendant, the sue-ee, is the State of Florida.  And why, you ask, is the NRA suing Florida?  Because the State of Florida had the cojones to stand up and do something about the foolish free-for-all with guns that led to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, on February 14th.  The State of Florida took the bull by the horns, listened to the grief stricken voices of the Parkland survivors last month, and said, “ENOUGH!!!!!”  My hat is off, and my thumbs are up to the Florida State Legislature and Governor Rick Scott.

First, let us look at the bill that was passed by the Florida State legislature, and then signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott on Friday.  The new law raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and extends the waiting period to three days for the purchase of all firearms. It also gives law enforcement more power to seize weapons, prohibits the sale of “bump stocks” — devices that can be put on semi-automatic weapons to increase their rate of fire. The measure also allows some school personnel to be armed.  The bill is too little; it is, perhaps, merely an effort to pay lip service to the young people who have made a valiant and determined effort to stop the madness, but still, it is a start. A small step.  Small steps are better than no steps.  A journey of a thousand miles, as the saying goes, begins with a single step.

The NRA had been on a long leash, obviously, waiting and knowing the moment was coming, for they filed their suit only one hour after Governor Scott signed the bill into law.  Since when does a lobbyist group have the right to write the laws in this nation?  Since when does the NRA decide constitutionality???  Since when is the NRA the Supreme Law of the Land?

The NRA claims “We filed a lawsuit against the state for violating the constitutional rights of 18- to 21-year-olds.”  Seriously???  18-21-year-olds have a constitutional right to murder?  To buy and carry, concealed, a weapon that can cause mass destruction and take as many as 400 lives in a single 60-second minute?  That’s right, people … the gun the shooter in Parkland, Florida, used on 14 February was an AR-15, which can fire up to 400 rounds per minute.  And we believe that the founding fathers intended children age 18 to be in control of one of these weapons???

No, the NRA filed that suit because they were told by the people controlling their purse-strings to get rid of that law at all costs, for it might cost a few thousand sales to the gun industry.  Might also save a few thousand lives, but hey … no big deal, right?

Personally, I would have liked to see the law go even further, to include universal background checks and a ban on assault rifles.  And I would, again, have preferred not to call for armed personnel within the school.  However, I still must applaud especially Governor Scott, for it took courage for him to stand against the NRA.  Scott has previously had an A+ rating with the NRA, yet he ignored their threats and signed the bill.  For once, perhaps, he put the safety and the wishes of his constituency above the corrupt gun lobby.  And I also applaud the Florida Legislature, where 67 republicans with A ratings from the NRA also voted for the bill.

If Florida could do it, so can the rest of the states.  Come on Texas, South Carolina, Utah, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota … get off your collective patooties, grow some cojones, and follow suit.  Don’t let the NRA lawsuit worry you.  The public, the citizens, the voters stand behind stricter gun laws, and the lawmakers damn well better put a higher value on We The People than they do the NRA.  Most gun owners do not belong to the NRA.  The NRA actually represents a very small group of ordinary people.  Their bigger concern is the manufacturers and sellers of guns.  Just think, if every state in the nation passed even the watered-down law that Florida passed, the NRA would bankrupt itself filing lawsuits against every single state!

I wonder if I can file a lawsuit against the NRA, for here I sit at 5:00 a.m., seething as I write this story, drinking my umpteenth cup of coffee and eating pretzels with peanut-butter, as my fingers literally beat the printed letters off my laptop keyboard.  A rather unhealthy lifestyle caused by the angst of reading of the hypocrisy of the NRA.  I should think that at the very least I could sue for a new laptop, as I no longer have an “N” printed on the key between ‘B’ and ‘M’.

This nation has lost its way if we place more value on giving guns to 18-year-olds than we place on human life.  We have lost our way when lawmakers are actually unwilling to do their job for fear of reprisals from an unsavory organization like the NRA.  Wayne LaPierre is not one of our lawmakers.   We The People did not vote him into office, nor has he been, to the best of my knowledge, appointed to a judicial position.  There was a time I would have predicted that the suit by the NRA would have no teeth, no chance of winning.  Today, I am less sure.  I think the answer is for every state to pass similar, or even tougher gun laws.  Make the NRA spread themselves thin trying to keep up with all their lawsuits.  I know of no other answer, for the members of Congress have already shown us that our wishes, our very lives, have less value to them than their NRA funding.  This nation needs to stand up to the bullies in the gun industry … NOW!

Saturday Surprise — On Sunday!!!

Okay, I was trying to come up with some elaborate and convoluted reason that Saturday Surprise is happening on Sunday, one day late.  But, while I have got an imagination, it seemed to fail me here, so I am going to come clean and admit that on Friday night, as I was writing my post for Saturday morning, I completely forgot what day of the week it was.  I worked along on my post about the meeting between East and West, popped it into Word Press, proofread, fixed the pictures, scheduled it for 3:00 a.m., then went to bed, where I fell almost immediately asleep with a book on my stomach and a bottle of water in my hand.  I awakened on Saturday morning at about 7:00 a.m., and my very first thought was “Oh crap … it’s Saturday morning!!!”  Well, not much to be done at that point, so I decided to make it a Sunday morning Saturday Surprise.  Please forgive my strangeness, forgetfulness, and all my other ‘ness-es’, for it has been a strange few weeks and I am still a bit boggled.

I recently discovered a website, Tedium, that has some fun things from time to time, and when I was cruising through there yesterday evening in search of something humorous, I came across a piece about ‘sniglets’.  You all know what a sniglet is, right?  I use them all the time.  The official definition is a word that isn’t in the dictionary, but should be.  You are dying to know, of course, where the sniglet got its start, right?

Do you guys remember the HBO program, Not Necessarily The News in the 1980s?  It featured sketches, parody news items, commercial parodies, and humorous bits made from overdubbing or editing actual news footage. It was based on the British series, Not the Nine O’Clock News, and was where Conan O’Brien first got his start.  One segment by comedian Rich Hall, was called ‘Sniglets’ and quickly became one of the most popular segments of the show.  Here’s a clip …

Sniglets became so popular, in fact, that merchandise included a board game, a word-a-day calendar, mugs imprinted with especially popular sniglets, a syndicated daily comic panel, and six sniglets books, three of which were New York Times best-sellers.  You can find them on Amazon, by the way.  Here are a few of my favourites …

  • Snackmosphere: the pocket of air found inside snack and/or potato chip bags.
  • Flopcorn: the unpopped kernels left in a bag of microwave popcorn.
  • Napjerk: a sudden convulsion of the body just before falling asleep.
  • Expresshole: A person that brings more than 20 items to the express lane in the store.
  • Anticiparcellate: Waiting until the mailman is several houses down the street before picking up the mail, so as not to appear too anxious.
  • Arachnidiot: A person, who, having wandered into an “invisible” spider web begins gyrating and flailing about wildly.
  • Carperpetuation: The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up. I do this one ALL the time!!!

(Hey Herb — now you have a word for Tom!)

You can find a list of more sniglets on Google.

Miss Goose sent me this one yesterday afternoon from Bored Panda  .  The headline reads

89-Year-Old Japanese Grandma Discovers Photography, Can’t Stop Taking Hilarious Self-Portraits Now

“Most people think that technology is for young people, but nobody told Kimiko Nishimoto that. She’s an 89-year-old Japanese grandma who’s been snapping and editing her own pictures for the last 17 years, and as you can see below, her style is certainly unique!

She didn’t get into photography until she was 72 years old. Her son was teaching a beginner’s course and so she decided to enroll, unaware that she was about to awake a passion and a talent she never even knew she had. She instantly fell in love with photography and set about snapping various quirky and comical self-portraits. She had her first solo exhibition ten years later, at a local museum in her home town of Kumamoto, and now she’s about to have her work exhibited at Tokyo’s Epson epsite imaging gallery.” 

I love these pictures and think you will too!  So much better than sitting home watching Duck Dynasty, eh?

This is just wrong…. isn’t it better to hang wet grandmas by their feet?

Just one last thing before you go get started on your Saturday Sunday funday … what would Saturday Surprise be without at least one cute animal picture?

Mama and Baby

Cute Sloth

Cute Monkey




Okay folks … I hope I made up for missing yesterday and that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me!  Now go have a wonderful weekend … what’s left of it!

Did We Forget To Be Human?

The news from Ghouta takes a backseat to the affair between Donald Trump & Stormy Daniels in the U.S. media.  An extra-marital affair, a payoff, misuse of campaign funds, are all juicier news to the average consumer of news in the U.S. than 1,000 dead and 4,800 wounded so far in 2018 in a nation on the other side of the globe.  Even our leaders turn a blind eye, caring more about partisan bickering and filling their own campaign coffers than human lives.

For those who still think that Ghouta is something to eat, a bit of clarification:

Ghouta is a suburb of Damascus, Syria, the last rebel-held enclave close to the Syrian capital, that has been bombarded by Bashar al-Assad’s forces for weeks on end, with Russian air support.  Perhaps the pictures can explain it better than my words.

Many of the dead are children.  People are bleeding to death, starving to death in the streets.  An estimated 400,000 are trapped with nowhere to go and no way to get there if there were some safe haven.

“France and Britain convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council and press for enforcement of last month’s Resolution 2401, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities. In this effort, the United States is nowhere, silent, AWOL, as President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian sidekick do their worst. The message to Moscow is clear: Donald Trump’s America does not care about Syria, or war crimes, or human rights. Russian cynicism and American absence produce disaster.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, calls Putin. He dispatches his foreign minister to Moscow and Tehran in an attempt to stop the slaughter. Trump, to whom moral indignation — indeed morality itself — is a stranger, does not care. His Middle East foreign policy has two components: Back Israel, bash Iran. With respect to Putin, he is compromised, or enamored, to the point of incapacity. Let Syria burn.” Roger Cohen, New York Times, 09 March 2018

Perhaps a personal story might make it more real:

Marwan Habaq and his infant daughter, Yasmina, would spend hours at home watching their fish swimming in circles in a tank at home. Mr. Habaq bought the fish before the war. As supplies dwindled, fish food was harder to find. But nine fish survived.

“Me and Yasmina loved the fish, but my wife used to get jealous, because we were paying more attention to the fish than her,” he said.

Yasmina also loved her stuffed toy, a bright red bumblebee bought by her father.

“Usually babies react to colorful stuff, and Yasmina did the same,” he said.

When the airstrikes intensified, Mr. Habaq and his wife grabbed their daughter and fled into the basement, leaving the aquarium and stuffed bumblebee upstairs.

On Feb. 23, their home was bombed. His voice broke as he described the wreckage.

“Every corner of the house was dear to me, but Yasmina’s stuff was the most precious,” he said. He found the bumblebee, half scorched.

As for the aquarium: “I only found one burned fish under the rubble, the rest were ashes.”

There are many, many other stories, and this is not the worst of them.

The new isolationist stance of the U.S. has gone too far when we, as a once-powerful nation, turn our back on this level of grief and suffering.  These are human beings, each with people who love them, each with lives to live, each with stories to tell.  They are not just statistics to be relegated to page 15 of the New York Times.  Ghouta is not a Hungarian stew!  Ghouta is a city with nearly a half-million people, every one of whose lives are in danger at this very moment.

For now, Yasmina and her family are alive.  Many others are not.  Meanwhile, the U.S. media salivates over news of Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump.  Every “news” story has the word ‘Trump’ in the headlines.  And we sit back eating our morning Cheerios while reading the salacious gossip, hanging on Trump’s every insignificant tweet.  Across the globe, people are starving, wandering amidst the rubble searching for loved ones, for a scrap of food or a bit of water.  And the bombs keep coming.

East vs West?

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” – Donald Trump, 08 August 2017

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” – Donald Trump, 19 September 2017

“He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician.” – Kim Jong-un, 22 September 2017

“Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.” – Kim Jong-un, 22 September 2017

“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!” – Donald Trump, 11 November 2017

“It’s not a mere threat but a reality that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office. All of the mainland United States is within the range of our nuclear strike.” – Kim Jong-un, 01 January 2018

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” – Donald Trump, 02 January 2018

“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un.” – Donald Trump, 11 January 2018

It would be hilarious, were it not so pathetic, that we can predict when Trump’s approval rating will rise.  On the very rare occasions that he has done something perceived as being the right thing, such as his State of the Union Address in January, his approval rating goes up … not a lot, mind you, but up over 40%. It gradually drops back down to its normal 35% – 37% until the next time.  I knew today before I even looked that it would be up, simply because of his agreement to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May to discuss nuclear disarmament.  Members of Trump’s base have worn their palms raw from clapping so hard.  But hold on just a minute, folks …

While many are praising Trump for accepting the invitation to meet with the North Korean leader, and are holding out high hopes for wonderful results, I view the potential meeting, should it even take place, with some degree of trepidation.  A large degree of trepidation, actually.  Why?  Because a meeting between these two strange personalities playing at being world leaders is a recipe for potential disaster.  Both are hot-headed, narcissistic, megalomaniacs who have been throwing barbs and insults across the sea at each other for more than a year (see above).  Surely you don’t think that just because they are in a room together, they will each suddenly become calm, rational and intelligent beings whose only goal is to promote global peace, do you?

First, there is the main goal of the meeting.  While both Trump and Kim use the same terminology, ‘denuclearization’, they define the word quite differently.  For Donald Trump, denuclearization means North Korea giving up their nuclear program and cessation of all further nuclear tests.  For Kim Jong-un, the more likely ideal outcome would be a bilateral disarmament and would also likely include reversing sanctions Trump has imposed on North Korea, as well as withdrawal of U.S. troops from the peninsula.  If Trump goes into this meeting thinking to take without giving, he will be sorely disappointed.

Second, this is not the way in which diplomacy happens.  Now, I know some may jump in and say that perhaps this is the better way – two leaders meeting without prior negotiations and planning by seasoned diplomats.  But there is a reason ambassadors and diplomats such as State Department heads are typically involved in the initial negotiations and preparations … that is their forte, they are the experts in the field.  They lay the groundwork, feel out the other side, report back to their respective countries, and go from there.  Diplomats are trained to listen to the other side.  Trump has no penchant for listening, for he believes that his own words are the only ones of any importance. Unfortunately, we are short several diplomats in the area, and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson is still learning the job he was ill-prepared for, and is often the subject of much ridicule in the Korean peninsula.

And third, we must consider the personalities of these two megalomaniacs.  Look again at the taunts and threats at the beginning of this post.  These are the mentalities that will meet up in a room, these are the two “men”, and I do use the term loosely, who will be trying to come to terms on something about which they both feel strongly, and which, if the talk turns to vitriol and disparagement, could threaten the security of every nation on the planet.

So yes, I am less than enthused by the prospect of a meeting between these two.  Some good may come out of it, and if so, I will be thankful and perhaps the world will breathe a sigh of relief.  But let us not lose sight of the fact that there are potential perils.

One thing that we all need to do is ignore the bombast and braggadocio that comes from not only Trump, but his White House boot-lickers as well.  It is irrelevant.  No, agreeing to meet with Kim Jong-un is not the greatest foreign policy win of the past 100 years.  No, no, and no, it does not make him the greatest ‘president’ in U.S. history.  The proof will be, or fail to be in the results, if the meeting takes place.  Until then, the media and We The People need to not fall prey to his silly self-praise.  Let him pat himself on the back as he will … just don’t watch.  Even if he pulls this off and comes back with a reasonable agreement that makes the world a little safer place, it cannot undo all the harm he has done in the past 14 months.  What he will be doing, if he succeeds in negotiating with Kim, is his job … nothing more, nothing less.