My Imagination Runs Amok …

It is early June, the crisis point on the debt ceiling has been reached, and word has come down from on high that “Nobody leaves the Capitol until there is agreement on raising the debt ceiling NOW!!!”  And so, the 435 representatives of the 50 states, tired and grumpy, are once again trying to hammer out a compromise that will at least appease both sides.  For the purpose of this conversation, there are only two voices – Republican and Democrat, shortened to Rep & Dem – representing all members of each party’s interest.

Dem:  Well, the problem is actually quite simple … putting it in layman’s terms for you, consider the family whose bills exceed their monthly income.  Now, they have a few choices:  take another or get a better-paying job to earn more money; reduce some expenses, cut back on non-essentials; or sell something for additional funds.  This is where the U.S. government is at.  Now, let’s talk about those three choices.

Rep:  I’ve been saying all along that we need to reduce expenses!  Those retired people are getting around $1,600 every month for sitting on their porch swings throwing peanuts out for the birds!  Cut that in half … they should have been smarter and saved while they were working!

Dem:  I’m not even gonna dignify that with a response!  Those old folks paid into Social Security all their lives on the promise by the U.S. government – US – that they would have a cushion for their old age.  You want to jerk that right out from under them?  I know you probably don’t pay the bills in your house or do the shopping, but let me tell you, $1,600 a month is nothing!

Rep:  Okay, okay, you bleeding heart liberal!  So, what’s your better idea, or do you just want to rebut mine?

Dem:  We increase revenue by … guess what … taxing your rich buddies!  Percentage-wise, they are paying less than your average working Joe, especially since the tax cuts your lying little buddy gave them in 2017!  Cut their loopholes, institute a fully gradient taxation schedule, and no exceptions!

Rep:  Oh no!!!  You start doing that, and our donor contributions will shrivel to nothing!  Absolutely NOT!  That idea is not even on the table!

Dem:  Alright, then … that leaves the third option:  we sell something.

Rep:  Like what … maybe the White House, complete with the president in it?  (laughs at his own joke)

Dem:  No, I’m thinking maybe … well look, we’ve got 50 states, right?  Personally, since it’s likely going to be underwater in ten years anyway, I’d opt for selling Florida.

Rep:  I knew you’d pick a red state to sell … just knew it!  Okay, let’s take a different approach and look at which state is smallest?  I’m thinking that would be Rhode Island, right?  Only about … let me look this up right quick … only 1,544 square miles!  We’d hardly even miss it!

Dem:  No way, Josè!  First, it may be the smallest in terms of land mass, but not of population.  Second, it is in the heart of the New England states … nobody is going to buy a state that’s surrounded on all sides by other states.  But, that brings to mind another possibility, one that you might even agree to.  Alaska!  Alaska has the fourth smallest population, only 724,357 people, and it isn’t even physically attached to the U.S., but rather to Canada!  Why, I bet we could make Justin Trudeau an offer he couldn’t refuse and he’d snap it up in a heartbeat!

Rep:  Well … I dunno.  That would increase your majority in the Senate by two.

Dem:  And it would increase your majority here in the House by one.  And what, really, does Alaska contribute to the national good?

Rep:  Hey, there’s oil under all that snow and ice!  OIL!!!

Dem:  And you know as well as I do that the future of oil is doomed.  You can deny it ‘til the cows come home, but climate science is real and oil is soon going to be a thing of the past as we move on toward more renewable, environmentally-friendly energy sources.  WAKE UP!

Rep:  Yeah, yeah … I know it and you know it, but I can’t tell my constituents that, for I’ve spent years convincing them that climate change is a Democratic hoax!  Why, I’d never get re-elected!  Not to mention I’d lose all those lovely donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Dem:  Okay, fine, whatever.  It’s after 2:00 a.m., we’re all tired, and we have a mandate to come to an agreement before we can go home and crawl into our beds, so … do we have an agreement?  We raise the debt ceiling, pay the bills and let the old folks keep on keeping on, and to make up the difference, we sell Alaska to the Canadians?

Rep:  I don’t much like it, but I sense it’s the best we’re going to manage, so … okay, deal.

They shake hands, and the deal is done. 

Couple of news items from the 49th and 50th states

Every now and then, a ray of sunshine finds its way through the dark clouds and our friend Keith was there to point out not just one, but two such rays of brightness amid the gloom! Thanks, Keith!


Alaska and Hawaii each caught my eye in the news feed this morning. First from the largest state in the United States, Alaska held a special election to replace US Congressman Don Young, who had suddenly died earlier this year. The news is there was an upset win on two counts. Here is a brief snippet from a news article whose link is below.

“Democrat Mary Peltola has won a special election for the U.S. House in Alaska, defeating Republican Sarah Palin and becoming the first Alaska Native to win a seat in Congress as well as the first woman to clinch the state’s at-large district. Peltola’s win flips a seat that had long been in Republican hands. She will serve the remainder of a term left open by the sudden death of Rep. Don Young (R) in March. Young represented Alaska in Congress for 49 years.

Peltola, who’s Yup’ik…

View original post 386 more words

Arctic Splendor … For How Long?

Before I jump in to my topic this morning, grab your coffee and pull up a chair … I have some gorgeous pictures I want to share with you!arctic-8arctic-1arctic-3arctic-4arctic-9Gorgeous place, isn’t it?  Don’t you just love all the wildlife running free?  What?  Where is it?  It is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Feel free to grab a couple of the pictures to remember it by, for soon … soon it is likely that it will no longer be so pristine, so beautiful, and the animals are likely to be gone.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), one of the last unspoiled landscapes in the world, occupies 19.3 million acres of stunning wildlands in northeastern Alaska.arctic-mapThis land has long been a source of controversy between those who would protect both the land and the wildlife, and the others who would like to drill for oil on the land.  In 1987, an impact study showed that if drilling were to take place …

“… expected displacement and reduction of wildlife populations and natural processes would cause a major reduction in the value of the area as a pristine, natural scientific laboratory.”

During the past decade, with climate change initiatives, a lower demand for oil, and President Obama’s push to add further protections to the refuge, the controversy died down considerably. And then came Donald Trump, beholden to the big oil companies and caring not a whit for the environment, wildlife, or the raw beauty of the land.Polar bear, Arctic National Wildlife RefugeShortly after taking office, Trump unveiled his fossil fuel-dependent “America First Energy Plan”.  In his first months, he signed several Executive Orders designed to pave the way for opening previously protected lands and waters for resource extraction. In May, Interior Secretary Zinke signed an order that requested an updated assessment of untapped potential oil and gas reserves in Alaska, which could then be used to make a case for drilling in the Arctic Refuge.arctic-10In an August memo, it was revealed the Department of the Interior wanted to lift a longstanding moratorium on exploratory seismic studies in the refuge.  Now – remember the donor tax cuts bill that passed last December?  Yeah, that one … the one that gave all those lovely tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%, increased both our debt and deficit, and left the rest of us in worse shape than before.  Well, turns out that the republicans in Congress folded legislation into that bill that will ultimately open the doors to drilling for both gas and oil.arctic-7This week, the first permit application to begin seismic testing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), was submitted by two Alaska Native corporations and a small oil services firm. The Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service was not happy, however.  The Fish and Wildlife Service complained that the permit application failed to provide studies about the effects of the seismic work and equipment on wildlife, the tundra and the aquatic conditions in the refuge.  In other words, no environmental impact study was included.

Peter Nelson, director of federal lands at the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife, said: “One thing is pretty notable: how many inaccuracies and missing pieces of information there are. It really provides more evidence that industry and the Trump administration are being pretty reckless with this process.”arctic-6The area is home to polar bears in winter and porcupine caribou and hundreds of migratory bird species in summer. No drilling has been done there since it became a refuge in 1980 and no seismic work since the mid-1980s.

Hats off to the Fish and Wildlife Services for standing up for further testing before any drilling is done, but thumbs down to the republican-majority Congress who sneakily embedded this proposal into the tax bill in such a way that denied democrats the opportunity for opposition.

The Arctic National Wildlife Preserve is one of the few such unfettered areas left in the world.  Look back, if you will, at the pictures in this post, and then ask yourself … do we want those beautiful areas to



this …ugly.png

… in just  few short years?

The Games Little Boys In Men’s Bodies Play …

fishIt was just another week in the White House and beyond.  I almost feel guilty about writing some of the juvenile posturing going on with Trump & Friends … it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel … I don’t even have to work at it.

First there was Trump’s poke at North Korea, when he said an “armada” was on the way to the Korean Peninsula, eliciting threats from the North Korean government.  Only trouble … the “armada” wasn’t actually heading to North Korea, but rather to the coast of Australia to play … war games!

Now the latest in the little boys’ games:

Russian Planes Buzz Alaska Four Nights in a Row  

My first thought, on reading the above headline was that perhaps they had seen Sarah Palin on her front porch watching them and had come buzzing by for a closer look at America’s #1 Bimbo!  But no, that cannot be right, for she is in Washington with former Idiot of the Week, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock.


Nugent, Rock, Trump, Palin

So what was Russia so interested in at our back door?  Nothing.  Just like Trump’s blustery implied threat to North Korea, it is nothing more or less than a game of cat and mouse. It is a game that has been played for decades: I still think the pilots were hoping to get a closer look at Sarah sunbathing on her porch.


“Over the Baltic, just off the coastlines of NATO members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Russian military aircraft were intercepted 110 times by allied planes in 2016. That was a decrease from the 160 recorded intercepts in 2015, but it has been enough to keep both sides well-versed in the protocols of flying in close proximity.” Paul McCleary, Foreign Policy, 21 April 2017

But then there was Jeff Sessions who, for some reason unknown to mankind, at least the portion of mankind with a cerebrum, said this:

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.”  Okay, so Jeffrey does not have his hands on the playthings that Trump, Putin and Kim Jong-un have, but he is still one of their gang and has his own toys.  Unfortunately, he spent so much time playing with his toys that he failed History 101 and did not realize that Hawaii is not just some little ‘island in the Pacific’, but in fact is actually the 50th state in the nation and has been since 21 August 1959. The other thing he may have forgotten is that Judge Derrick Watson came up for confirmation in 2013, Sessions himself voted to confirm the judge to the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.  Well, what the heck … Sessions is 70 years of age … the guy really cannot be expected to remember everything, now can he?


An island in the Pacific:  Kaneohe, Oahu – 2010

A number of fun & funny comments stemmed from Sessions’ ignorance, but these were my favourites:

  • “Please don’t dis[respect] Hawaii as it gives us papaya, coffee, helicopter parts and the last competent president.”  
  • “We should let @jeffsessions know that New Mexico is a state too. Otherwise the wall might get built in the wrong place.”  laughing

And then on to Trumpie himself who is getting bored since the generals took his toys away … so he decided to play ‘bully’ over … cows!

cows “In Canada, some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and others, and we’re going to strategy working on that. Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm workers, it’s a disgrace.”  What, you may ask, did Canada do to draw the wrath of the playground bully?  Canadian dairy producers recently decided to collectively lower their prices in order to compete with cheaper, American imports. About 70 dairy producers in both Wisconsin and New York are reportedly affected by the new policy. Best I recall from my college economics courses, this is competitive business practice and does not signify “a disgrace”.

Donnie T., for his part, is threatening to “tear up” the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but he was threatening that even before the election, so … ho-hum.  What else is new? One comment I found humorous in the UK’s Independent was: “Don the Con is a great example as to why boys and girls should learn history and to read, write, and speak clearly. He lacks these basic building blocks and has unenviable analytical skills. The word “moron” comes close to capturing the extent of his abilities, although lumping him in with morons might be disrespectful to morons.”

As you can see, it has been a week of business at the playground, complete with toys and playground bullies.  Stay tuned next week for more fun and games …

Mondays are Awesome, Mondays are Cool …


A Queen and Her Loyal Subjects

bees-on-carDid you ever get into your car, begin driving, and then discover there was a bee sharing the space with you?  I have had this happen, and for the most part I just keep driving, perhaps open a window a bit so the he/she can fly out if they so choose.  Next time, perhaps it would be better to stop right away and let the bee out of the car.  Here is what happened last month in Wales:  65-year-old Carol Howarth apparently got a bee in her car and either didn’t realize it or just wasn’t too concerned about it.  The bee, however, turned out not to be just an ordinary bee, but a queen bee!  Ms. Howarth drove on to a local shopping center and went in to do a bit of shopping, completely unaware that she had been followed!  Meanwhile, a National Park Ranger, Tom Moses, happened to be passing by and noticed a very strange sight indeed … a swarm of thousands of bees congregating on the rear of Ms. Howarth’s Mitsubishi!  Imagining all the things that could go wrong, both for passersby and the bees alike, Mr. Moses did the smart thing and called in a couple of professional beekeepers who helped capture the swarm.  Mr. Moses, by the way, refers to it as a ‘sting operation’, as he received several stings in the process.  Problem solved?  Not quite.  The next morning, Ms. Howarth awakened to find the swarm had returned and was once again lodged on the rear of her car!  The beekeepers were once again called in and it took until 6:00 that evening to capture and disburse all the bees!  I always heard that bees were loyal to their queen, but this … ? Queen Elizabeth, eat your heart out! I am not afraid of bees, per se, but I think seeing that many bees on my car would give me nightmares for a few weeks at least!

Where is the Best Place to Spot Wildlife in Alaska?


Where is the best place to spot a moose in Alaska?  Well, you might try the parking lot outside of Lowe’s in Anchorage.  Last Friday a female moose, possibly run from the woods by a bear, visited Lowe’s parking lot in search of the maternity unit.  Several bystanders noticed she was acting a bit strange, and before long noticed that she had just given birth to a beautiful, bouncing baby … moose.  As was to be expected a gaggle of humans soon surrounded the pair, and needless to say, all this gawking in what should have been a private moment distressed the moose, so store employees roped off a ‘safe zone’ to afford mother and baby some privacy.  Moose and calf spent about nine hours in the parking lot.  You can catch a video of them here.

The Next Right-Wing Ideology:  You WILL Eat Meat!



sausageIn the city of Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia (the country, not the state), there is a new café, called Kiwi Cafe.  It is a small, vegan café with only 5-6 tables, and has been opened for just over a year.  The owners, Egoo and Skvo, have been having some problems from the community: “The neighbors don’t like us. We’ve got piercings; we’ve got tattoos; we’ve got dreadlocks. They think we’re weird. They think we’re dirty.”  But the criticisms and comments were nothing compared to what happened last week when 10-15 men, some wearing sausages ‘round their necks, others armed with skewers of meat, burst into the café and began violently throwing meat upon the diner’s plates!  A brawl ensued, with minor injuries reported but the perpetrators fled before police arrived.  According to witnesses, the police were not particularly sympathetic nor helpful.  Some speculate that it was the work of right-wing extremist groups similar to neo-Nazis.