Good People Doing Good Things — Too Many To Count

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


California is on fire …

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

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

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

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


Two hearts …

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

Enter ICU nurse Lori Wood …

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

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Jonathan Pinkard and Nurse Lori Wood

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


A very little good people …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quite so.


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

We The People Have Had ENOUGH!

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


#1

Several days ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said …

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

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

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

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

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


#2

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

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

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

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

Newsom fired back …

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

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

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

Jackass.


#3

And speaking of climate change …

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Good People Doing Good Things — Helpers

We’ve had more than our share of bad news in the past week or two, haven’t we?  It’s often easy to believe that the world is mostly evil, that kindness, compassion and caring have gone by the wayside.  But, as I find every week when I go in search of good people for my Wednesday morning feature, they are out there … we just have to shove aside all the bad people and open our eyes and our hearts, and we will find them.  Today, I have for you an assortment, but first … I thought this was in keeping with the theme …Inspirational-quote


Caden Dixon is nine-years-old, and he really, really did not want to go to school that first day of fourth grade.  He was dreading it more than most kids do.  Why?  Well, you see, Caden’s dad was a police officer with the Hall County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Department and he was killed exactly one month before in the line of duty.  Caden’s dad always took him for the first day of school … but this year he wasn’t there and Caden couldn’t face it.  Enter a bunch of good cops …Caden-1

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Caden-4On Wednesday morning, more than a dozen of his dad’s colleagues arrived at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy in Gainesville and escorted Caden to class.  The deputies in Dixon’s Patrol Watch were a tight-knit group, according to spokesman Derreck Booth.

“Since the tragedy last month, members of the watch and other deputies, particularly Sgt. Hewell, have been actively involved with serving and comforting Dixon’s family.”


Last November, California experienced the most devastating wildfires in its history. The worst, known as the Camp Fire, killed 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes, leaving over 50,000 people homeless.  Enter Woody Faircloth of Denver, Colorado …

Woody-Faircloth“There are people that lived lives like we do, that went to work every day, went to school and had very normal lives that now find themselves homeless with nowhere to turn, nowhere to live. I just couldn’t imagine being in that position. I had a hard time letting it go … I knew I wanted to do something to help.”

Faircloth browsed Craigslist in the areas affected by the fires and saw an enormous need for temporary housing for evacuees. So, he set up a GoFundMe page and invited people to donate so they could purchase and restore a used RV for a family.

Through social media, Faircloth eventually got connected with a family of six that was greatly in need. Just before Thanksgiving, Faircloth filled the RV with supplies and — along with his youngest daughter, 7-year-old Luna — embarked on the nearly 1,200-mile drive to California to deliver the vehicle.rv.pngThat first donated RV led to another, and by December, Faircloth had more than 100 requests for RVs from afflicted families.  Witnessing how great the need was, Faircloth turned his idea into a nonprofit, RV4CampfireFamily.

“If we have a platform to help, we have to keep helping.”

Faircloth connects with RV owners interested in donating or selling their used RVs at a low cost. He refits the RVs himself and negotiates costs when he needs to enlist professional mechanics for heavy-duty repairs. Once the RV is ready to go, Faircloth organizes a way to transport it to the recipient.

The organization has thus far provided RV homes to 65 families.


Imagine … we as adults are so devastated by the recent mass shootings, it affects us in any number of ways, from sleeplessness to frustration & angst, to looking about every time we go out in public, wondering who might be thinking what.  So, imagine what it’s like for children who are just old enough to understand what happened, but not yet old enough to understand why.  One eleven-year-old, Ruben Martinez of El Paso, was among those who was having difficulty taking it all in.  According to his mother, Rosa Gandarilla …

“He was having some trouble dealing with what happened. I explained to him that we could not live in fear and that people in our community are caring and loving. I told him to try and think of something he could do to make El Paso a little better.”

And so, Ruben did just that! Ruben-1Ruben Martinez is challenging each person in El Paso to do 22 acts of kindness for others in honor of the 22 people who died that day.  Ruben has been passing out flyers and posting on social media to try and help the #ElPasoChallenge spread. He is also leading by example …

“Last night, he agreed to go out to do his first act of kindness. He chose to go deliver dinner to our first responders.”

The response on Twitter has been great …

  • Willow the RainFawn@DaDoofFloofbutt:  “I will join in. But instead of 22, I will have 34 acts of kindness-3 for the Garlic Festival shooting, 22 for El Paso, 9 for Dayton, Ohio”
  • Victoriaa@hippievicky:  “Today my niece, friend and I did the #ElPasoChallenge! It felt so good doing something nice for others! Each of the 22 notes had the name of a victim because we wanted these good deeds to be for them! #ElPasoStrong I encourage y’all to do this challenge!”

And there were many, many more.  It seems to me that the youth of this nation are our hope for the future, and right now I trust their good sense more than I do that of many adults!  People turn to churches for guidance in times of trouble … perhaps they would be better off to turn to young people!


I came across this short video on a friend’s blog, Nuggets of Gold, last night, and I think it fits in perfectly with the ‘good people’ theme.  See what you think …

The “Bromance” Heats Up?

Yesterday, Donald Trump called his bro-buddy Vladimir Putin and … offered to help him with the wildfires that are burning in Siberia!  Yes, it is true … the plonker who thinks raking the forest is the way to prevent fires, offered to send resources, both human and equipment (rakes, perhaps?), halfway across the globe to help our adversary!  Now, mind you I have no desire to see portions of the earth burnt to a crisp, but there are so many things wrong with this scenario that I don’t know where to begin.trump-putin-phone-732356The “Embassy of Russia in the USA” put out the following release:

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump this evening at the American side’s initiative.

The US President offered help in putting out wildfires in Siberia.

The President of Russia expressed sincere gratitude for the kind attention and the offer of help and assistance. Vladimir Putin said he will accept the offer if it becomes necessary. He also told his American colleague that a powerful group of aircraft had been formed in Siberia to fight the wildfires. According to the Emergencies Ministry, solutions have been found to problems with the refuelling and deployment of airplanes and helicopters.

The President of Russia regards the US President’s offer as a sign that it is possible that full-scale bilateral relations will be restored in the future.

The presidents of Russia and the United States agreed to continue contacts in the form of telephone conversations as well as personal meetings.

Trump-Putin-toonSounds pretty chummy, yes?  And … um … please forgive my suspicious nature, but isn’t there an election coming up in about 15 months, and didn’t ol’ Vlad help Trump get elected last time, and isn’t Trump in need of some help this time?  Let that sink in, but meanwhile …

Remember last year when California was experiencing some of the worst wildfires in its history?  Trump blamed the state for the fires, saying it was “bad environmental laws” and “gross mismanagement of the forests” that had caused the fires, and threatened to stop sending federal money to the state unless it fixed its forest-management methods, pronto.  Said the expert on forest fires …

“You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forests, it’s very important.”

And he claimed to have had a conversation with the President of Finland …

“He called it a forest nation, and they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problems.”

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto disputed this conversation, but that didn’t deter Trump, who knows more about everything than anyone else.

And remember his unconscionable complaints about having to provide assistance to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico:

“Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right. The place is a mess.”

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory, and the people who live there are U.S. citizens, yet Trump is more willing, nay eager … to help put out fires in sparsely populated Russian Siberia than save lives of U.S. citizens.Trump-Putin-SamOur neighbors to the north have been battling wildfires in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, for several months this year, the fires are still burning, and has Trump proffered assistance even one single time?  I think not.  Similar fires are burning in Alaska (which is one of the fifty “United” states) and the Arctic, but has Trump offered assistance to either?  I think not.

And finally, consider this.  Trump has done as much as anybody, more than most, to cause those wildfires he’s so concerned about.  The fires are a result of July’s record-breaking European heatwave, which is a result of the climate change that Trump has denied, has called a Chinese hoax.  Donald Trump had it in his power to address the issue of climate change, to enhance the regulations that were already in place on the fossil fuel and auto industries, but instead he trashed every single environmental regulation.  The U.S. puts out more carbon emissions, CO2, per capita than any other nation on the globe.  But, instead of addressing climate change with any degree of conscience or maturity, he added to the problem in order to help his rich capitalist buddies.  Instead of being so happy that Trump offered assistance, Putin should be furious that Trump, in fact, is adding fuel to the fire.

I have to wonder … if the fires were in the UK, France, or Mexico, all of whom are U.S. allies, would Trump be offering help?  Think about it.

The Conversation — Part II

This is Part II of the series I started yesterday afternoon, in response to a very thoughtful and thought-provoking comment I received from friend Mary on Tuesday.  Mary’s comments are in normal text, mine are in blue.  The conversation continues …

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1When I look around and see the support trump still has after 2 years, I believe it is hopeless … truly. I do hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling. 2Education is not getting better, 3politics are even more corrupt, greed is rampant, 4our government supports killers over their own intelligence agencies, selfishness is rampant, 5far right religion is out of control with their end times desires and pushing their own special brand of bigotry, 6fires being blamed on not raking leaves, wars without end, 7the real fake news (Fox and their ilk) are taking over the simple minded and on and on…  Let me take these one-by-one:

  1. Trump’s support is still the minority. His approval ratings have never, since his first week or two in office, come above about 43%, and typically run in the mid-to-high 30s, lower than any other president in modern times.  The thing about his supporters is that they are loud and obnoxious, have radical and hateful ideas, so, as the saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”.  They are given the attention of the media, making them seem much larger than they actually are.

  2. Education has been in decline for more than a decade, though I agree that under Trump it is certain to decline further. Betsy DeVos would make college available to only those in the upper 1% of the income bracket and would siphon funds meant for public schools serving the many, into charter and religious schools serving only the elite few.  The problem, however, traces to parents who prefer their children to be schooled in a skill or a trade, so that they are prepared for a specific sort of job when they leave school, rather than receiving a liberal arts education that gives them a broad scope of knowledge, and most importantly, teaches them to think, to ask questions, to find solutions to problems.   Thus, the future leaders of this country, as well as the future scientists and inventors, will likely come only from among the very privileged.  It is a problem, certainly, but not one without a solution.  The solution is that we, as parents and grandparents, must step up to the plate, must demand that our children be given the same opportunity as the children of the Koch family. And we must motivate our children, for today’s youth is the future of this country.  Spend time with them, teach them what they need to know, teach them to reason, to ask questions, not to simply accept the easy answers.


  3. Yes, Mary, politics are as corrupt as they have ever been. The first thing that needs to be done is to take the money out of it.  Citizens United was the single worst decision ever made in terms of campaign finance, and even a few Supreme Court Justices have since regretted their vote.  It has left the door wide open for large corporations and lobbying groups, such as the fossil fuel and arms industries to buy members of Congress.  Today, it isn’t about the candidate’s platform and ideologies, but rather about how much money he can bring in.  I would personally like to see a system where donations are made to a central organization and divvied equally among all candidates.  Not going to happen, but it’s the only way we can ensure that our elected officials are truly representing us, We The People, and not in the pockets of the wealthy, industries, or the NRA.  Another suggestion I have is that we expand the current two-party system to either make it easier for an independent to get on the ballot, or to have a multi-party system such as many European nations have.  The United States is the only nation that has a duopoly, a two-party system where all power rests with those two parties.


  4. It appears that it is Trump’s decision alone to support Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and to ignore the evidence of his role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Members of both parties in Congress are displeased with this decision and I cannot imagine that any other president would be so unwilling to listen to his own intelligence agencies, but Trump … well, he thinks he knows more than anybody else.


  5. The far-right religion, the evangelicals, as a whole are a problem for our nation only to the extent that the government and the courts allow them to be. Trump promised his followers that he would nominate justices to the Supreme Court that would be willing to overturn Roe v Wade and Obergefell v Hodges, and thus far he has seated two such judges.  It is to be hoped that he does not get the opportunity to nominate others, and that the rest of the court has respect for the decisions of past courts.  Our laws call for separation of church and state for good reason.  Ours is a secular government and has no right to interfere in any religion, but by the same token, religions must not have the right to determine law.


  6. I agree that Trump’s response to the forest fires in California was abominable. The good news about that is he surely didn’t make any friends or find any new supporters in that state!  The only thing he did do was prove his own ignorance, as if we needed further proof.


  7. Trump’s close ties with Fox News are indeed worrisome, especially when he is said to call Sean Hannity for advice! And to add insult to injury is his demonization of the legitimate press, calling them the “Enemy of the People”.  I must admit that, while I see the danger quite clearly, I am at a loss as to how we can make people think for themselves, make them wake up and realize that Fox News is naught more than state-sponsored television that panders to Donald Trump.  I think we must rely on the organizations that are established for the purpose of being the watchdogs to monitor freedom of the press, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and hope they do their job and get the word out. 

And once again I am at over 1,000 words, so I shall stop here and wrap up with Part III later today.  Please feel free to join in the conversation with your own ideas!  And thanks for not throwing those rotten tomatoes!  🍅 🍅 🍅

Link to Part I in case you missed it:  The Conversation — Part I

Good People Doing Good Things — After The Fire

Y’know … sometimes it takes a catastrophic event, a tragedy, to bring out the best in people.  The devastating wildfires in California earlier this month seems to have brought out an awful lot of good in some people and it is those stories I’m bringing you today … those good people who gave of themselves to help others.  None of these good people are millionaires with money to spare, they are all just people like you and me, working every day just to pay the bills.  But they gave of whatever they had, be it food, information, love … they just gave.  These are the real heroes …


The spirit of the team …

The Cougars is the name of the Paradise, California, Adventist school’s volleyball team.  Sadly, as you might expect, they lost everything – equipment, uniforms, their school – in the wildfires that literally burned Paradise to the ground this month.  But those Cougars have spirit, they have energy, and they were determined to play their semifinal championship match on Saturday.

The team they would be playing was Forest Lake Christian High School in Auburn, some 85 miles south of Paradise.  Having already lost so much … some of these girls had lost their homes, as well as their school … they headed to Auburn on that day.  And what did they find?  Brand new uniforms, for starters!Paradise-uniformsCustom jerseys, shorts, knee pads and socks waiting for them as well as truckloads of donated clothes and more than $16,000 in cash and gift cards.  All of which was pulled together by the Forest Lake Christian community in less than 24 hours“I’ve never been so overwhelmed by so many things I would have never thought possible, and this is one of the most amazing things I could ever have thought would happen,” Paradise Adventist coach Jason Eyer said to the crowd. “Your community is awesome, and we are forever grateful.”

Forest Lake won the game, but new friendships were forged as the two teams posed for photos and enjoyed each other’s company.  This is what teamwork, compassion and humanity are all about, my friends.  These young people … bring happy tears, don’t they?


To save a kitty …

Shannon Jay is the man’s name, and he has been spending his days rescuing cats who survived the fire.  There isn’t anything much more vicious than a scared, hurt cat … trust me, I have the scars to prove it!  In this particular kitty rescue, there just happened to be a cinematographer on the scene recording the devastation when the rescue took place.  Take two minutes, if you will, to watch this … this man risked being mauled by this poor petrified cat, and his reaction after the cat was safe, tells a story all its own.  Gronda, get your tissues …


All in a day’s work …

Danny and Arek Zachara are brothers from Poland who migrated to America. They own MDD Exterior Inc. Contracting/Roofing company in Chicago.  We’ve all seen the pictures of the devastation, the lost homes, burned out cars alongside the road, and we’ve heard the stories of the people who barely made it out with their lives … and those who didn’t.  But we probably haven’t given much thought to livestock displaced by the fires.Zachara brothersBut Danny and Arek were farm boys back in the old country and they did think of the animals, how their source of food would have been burned up, so they did what anybody would do … loaded up their truck and started the 4,500-mile round trip journey to Wheeler Ranch and Feed in Biggs, California!  They had a trailer and a pickup truck filled with hay, livestock feed, and dog and cat food.

It wasn’t to be an easy journey.  It took them several days, as they encountered rain, sleet, snow and wind. That didn’t stop them.  A couple times they were snowed in and spent the night in their truck at various truck stops to guard their precious treasures for the animals and victims of the Camp Fire.  Big thumbs up to these guys!


Down on the farm …

Paulina Cortes is a preschool teacher in San Jose, California.  Last Tuesday she spent the day in and around the town of Lodi, an hour-and-a-half drive from her home in San Jose.  Why?  Because in the aftermath of the fires in California, she wanted to do something to help people.  Her thought was “Find a way to give to a community who needs help.”  And she did.  She visited farms in the area with a two-fold purpose:  to provide masks to farm workers in rural communities, and to educate the farm workers about the severity and dangers of the pollution.

“In Lodi yesterday the workers were picking fruit in ‘HAZARDOUS’ labeled air with an AQI [Air Quality Index] of 308… and worst of all is that none of them knew this. Not everyone has access to information that we have access to and what’s important is that we continue to build bridges to reach our communities.”Paulina Cortes

Most of the farmworkers in California are immigrants from Mexico, low-paid, without benefits, and many speak very little English.  Cortes made sure they understood how unhealthy the air is and why it is important they wear the masks she gave them.  Another of those “little things mean a lot” moments.


More than just a burrito …

José Uriarte owns a Mexican food truck restaurant called Gordo Burrito in Chico, California.  José is not a rich man, but in the aftermath of the Camp Fire that razed the town of Paradise, he wanted to help.  So … he pulled that food truck up to an evacuation shelter and did what he does best … started handing out tacos and burritos to the displaced in the shelter.Jose UriarteOn the first day he donated 300 meals at the Chico Elks Lodge refuge. And every day he is giving away food to others in the community who are helping in the state’s deadliest fire: firemen, EMTs, police, social workers, and displaced people in need of a warm meal.

“I’m just a small business owner but I see people and I’m like, ‘Here’s 10 or 15 burritos.’ It’s the least I can do.”food truck


These are good people, my friends.  And there are hundreds more stories like these.  I ask myself, if that happened in my community, what could I do.  What would I do?  Would I give of myself, my time, whatever resources I have available?  I hope I would … I think we never know until we find ourselves in that situation.

Ahhhhh … What A Fool

The piece I am sharing with you today does not come from The Onion, though you would be forgiven for thinking so.  It is, rather, a tongue-in-cheek look at Donald Trump as per his interview on Fox ‘News’ with Chris Wallace last Sunday by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.

This is what happens when a stable genius leads a stupid country

By Dana Milbank, Columnist, November 19 at 7:35 PM

Dana Milbank

President Trump is surrounded by fools.

There’s that fool William H. McRaven, Special Operations commander of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and the other fools in the U.S. military, who should have brought down bin Laden “a lot sooner,” because “everybody in Pakistan” — all 208 million of them — knew the terrorist leader was living in “a nice mansion.” Trump alone “predicted Osama bin Laden” in 2000 when “nobody really knew who he was.”(Were they waiting for Trump to give them bin Laden’s Zip code plus four?)

There are the fools in the CIA, who have concluded based on so-called evidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered last month’s killing of Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. But Trump alone understands that we’ll never know the truth, because the crown prince denied involvement “maybe five different times.”

There’s that fool Chris Wallace at Fox News, who didn’t understand why Trump skipped Arlington National Cemetery on the Monday after Veterans Day after skipping a visit to a U.S. military cemetery in France two days earlier. But Wallace, if he were wiser, would have known Trump was “extremely busy on calls for the country” as well as “doing other things.”

There are the foolish Finns who, after Trump claimed Finland avoided forest fires because “they spent a lot of time on raking,” are now mocking him by posing with garden tools in the woods. But Trump knows Finnish forest-raking is real because Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, told him about it just last week (even if Niinisto can’t remember this).

Worst of all are the fools in California — people who insist on calling the fire-destroyed town there “Paradise” instead of “Pleasure,” as Trump prefers to call it — who assert that the fires were caused by drought instead of their own mismanagement. As Trump well knows, “there is no drought” in California and there is “plenty of water.”

No one has suffered as many fools as Trump has. But this is to be expected when a “very stable genius” leads a “stupid country.”

Trump knows “more about courts than any human being.” He knows “more about steelworkers than anybody.” He knows “more about ISIS than the generals do,” and “more about offense and defense than they will ever understand.” He knows “more about wedges than any human being that’s ever lived.” He even knows more about medicine than his doctor, dictating a doctor’s letter predicting he would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

How does Trump know so much about so many things? Explaining his disagreement with scientists on climate change, Trump told the Associated Press: “My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science.”

Given Trump’s natural scientific instinct, you don’t need a B.S. from Trump University to know how frustrating it must be to be contradicted repeatedly by “experts” — some in his own administration!

The intelligence community unanimously believes that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, but Trump’s instinct says there’s no reason to disbelieve Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials.

Satellite imagery shows that North Korea has enhanced its ability to launch missiles, but Trump says, “I don’t believe that.”

The scientific consensus supports the theory of climate change, but Trump says “it could very well go back” to cooling.

Trump’s instinct has led him to a number of scientific discoveries over time:

“The worst hurricanes were 50 years ago.”

Vaccines cause autism in “many” healthy children.

The flu shot is “totally ineffective.”

Exercise is unhealthy.

Coal is “indestructible.”

Windmills are a “killing field” for birds and can make people who live near turbines “go crazy after a couple of years.”

It’s okay to look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse.

California is “shoving” water out to sea “to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish.”

With such a high level of technical expertise, Trump waited 19 months into his presidency to name a White House science adviser. More than 1,000 members of the National Academy of Sciences accuse Trump of the “denigration of scientific expertise and harassment of scientists.”

But they don’t understand. Trump knows more about science than the scientists do.

And this is the problem with being surrounded by fools: Though Trump gives his presidency an “A-plus,” most Americans — about 60 percent — do not appreciate his brilliance.

He deserves better — and he should demand it. He should walk away, withdraw his excellence, maybe get a place in Pleasure — and leave us to suffer our own foolish “scientists” and “experts” and “facts.” That would really show us.

Deep breaths … lighten up … smile, for it is humour.  Any fool who rates himself an A+ when more than half the country, not to mention allies in other nations, hate him enough to wish to send him to Siberia, is a moron.

Snarkier Than Usual Snippets — Part II

As promised, I have more snippets deserving of my sardonic wit today …


Lock her (Ivanka) up!!!

ivankaRemember the rallying cries of Trump supporters when they chanted “Lock her up!!!”, with only minimal prompting from Trump?  The ‘her’ was Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential race, and the reason for the chant was that Trump called her use of a private email server for government business when she was Secretary of State, criminal.  Well, he who laughs last, laughs best, and guess what, folks?  Ivanka Trump has just been found to have done that very thing that Hillary, cleared by the FBI, was accused of.

According to The Washington Post

Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence.

White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.

The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. He attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account as secretary of state.

Burn, Baby, Burn … Maybe this will finally get her out of the White House and we won’t have to look at her fat posterior and grotesque fingernails on our screens every day!


Speaking of being respectful …

Adam Schiff is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a democrat who has served in Congress since 2001.  Remember Trump’s propensity for making up derogatory nicknames for people he doesn’t like, which means anybody who doesn’t bow down to him and lick his dirty boots?  Remember “Lyin’ Ted (Cruz)” and “Crooked Hillary (Clinton)”, “Little Marco (Rubio)”, “Pocahontas (Senator Warren)” and all the others?  Well, Trump doesn’t like Representative Schiff, so he not-so-subtly changed Mr. Schiff’s last name in one of his nefarious tweets …Trump-tweet-SchiffNo, my friends, that was no typo … that was fully intentional and so far beneath what I would expect from any leader of a nation that my jaw actually dropped.  This ‘man’ is a jackass extraordinaire.  For his part, Mr. Schiff responded with humour, saying …

“Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?”

I think that We The People of this nation have a right to expect better from the ‘man’ whose salary we pay and to whom we have entrusted our lives, our country, our futures.  Someway, somehow, this ‘man’ needs to be removed from the Oval Office, for he is not … I repeat, he is not … even a man, let alone a president.  Apologies on behalf of the sane people in this nation to Representative Schiff.


Trump in California …

Donald Trump should be shackled with leg irons to his chair in the Oval Office, for every time he is allowed out, he makes a fool not only of himself, but also of this nation.  After his royal screw-up in France last week, he decided to go to California over the weekend to see how many photo ops he could get in the burned-out town of Paradise.  Trump, you see, was jealous that the media was more interested in the California wild fires that were devastating the state, than in covering his every move.

Trump was not given the royal welcome he had expected, for two reasons.  First, he had made his now-famous tweet on November 10th, saying …

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

Californians, watching their homes be burned to the ground, frantically trying to find missing loved ones, didn’t take kindly to Trump’s bombast.  And the second reason the red carpet wasn’t rolled out for him is that the good people of California were too busy trying to fight the fires, salvage what they could of their lives, etc.  Anyway, the red carpet was burned up in the Camp Fire.

Trump-California

It just can’t get any uglier

He got his photo op, although it wasn’t what he expected, and at least he didn’t throw rolls of paper towels to the victims – I suppose we should be thankful for that.  But he embarrassed us all once again when he couldn’t resist repeating his prior statement and embellishing on it by saying that Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto told him that his country doesn’t have the same problem with fires because it spends “a lot of time on raking and cleaning” the forest floors.  President Niinisto says he did not say any such thing, and now Finland is having great fun, at Trump’s (and ours) expense.Finn-vacuums-forest

mocking-trump.png

more mocking trumpWell, you get the picture.  But that wasn’t the end of his ignorance.  The town of Paradise was completely destroyed, only Trump couldn’t be bothered to even get the town’s name right …

“I mean, as big as they look on the tube, you don’t see what’s going on until you come here. And what we saw at Pleasure, what a name, right now.”

And just minutes later …

“We just left Pleasure.”

beating head in disgustshaking_head_in_disgust_anim_md_wm


This concludes my two-part miniseries of ‘snarkier than usual snippets’, and presumably explains why I have slipped back into the rabbit hole.  Never in my life have I seen so much chaos, ignorance, corruption and cruelty in this nation.  Thanks to all who voted for the abomination in the Oval Office for ruining our lives, our nation.

Snarkier Than Usual Snippets — Part I

A few stories I read last night truly made my blood boil and make me want to punch somebody.  As I am a kind and generous person who believes in sharing everything with my friends, I am sharing these stories with you so that you, too, can experience the rage that I felt.


A truly WTF moment …

There have been very few times in my life that I have actually wished something bad to happen to somebody, but this is one of those times.  No, it isn’t Trump this time … it is a man named Dave Johnson.  Dave is the Republican Party Chairman for Columbiana County, Ohio.  He owns the Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton, a regular stop for politicians running for office in Ohio, and served as a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Last Sunday, Dave posted the following meme to his Facebook page …Dave Johnson Calif fires meme

“God’s punishment to Liberal California”???  WTF???  

In the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, California, the death toll is so far at 80 people and expected to rise.  As of this writing, 699 are still unaccounted for.  The fire has burned some 151,000 acres and destroyed approximately 15,000 homes and businesses.  And that is only one, albeit the worst, of the many, deadly fires that have plagued California this year and last.  And this excuse for a ‘man’ calls it “God’s punishment to Liberal California”?  Hey, GOP … really, is this the best you’ve got to offer???

As you might imagine, the outrage was immediate and ol’ Dave took the post down later the same day, but in an interview, he stands by what he said.

“Look, that’s a meme. And it’s how I feel about liberals, but did I mean that God is going to punish everyone who lives in California? No. It’s a figure of speech, and I probably shouldn’t have done it. But I did, and it doesn’t change how I feel about what’s happened in California.”

Somebody put this man out of our misery!


Unfit to parent …

Meet Emily Scheck …Emily-Scheck.pngEmily is 19 years old, a sophomore and cross-country runner at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.  One day at the beginning of the school year, Emily received a series of angry text messages from her mother … her mother had found pictures of Emily and the woman she is currently dating on a social media site and was horrified.  Emily had not come out to her parents, knowing how they would react, but now the cat was out of the bag.

Emily’s “Christian” parents insisted that she would quit college and they would seek conversion therapy for her, else they would write her out of their lives.  Say what???  How does a parent just … poof … write their own child out of their life???

Emily refused to leave school and made it quite clear that she has no interest in any form of therapy.  Good for her!  The next day, her father traveled the 85 miles to the Canisius campus, unceremoniously dumped all of Emily’s belongings into her car and proceeded to remove the license plate from her vehicle, for he had already removed her from the family’s insurance policy.  He even included her birth certificate.  Her mother’s final text message was …

“Well, I am done with you. As of right now, declare yourself independent. You are on your own. Please don’t contact us or your siblings.  Because you disgust me.”

As it was the beginning of the term, Emily hadn’t yet bought her books, and now she couldn’t afford to, so she was reduced to borrowing friends’ books.  She managed to get two campus jobs and somehow squeeze them in along with her classes and athletic practices.  Before long, one of her friends came up with an idea and started a GoFundMe page, hoping to collect $5,000 to help Emily pay for licensing her car, getting insurance, buying books, and buying food!  Well, long story short, the GoFundMe quickly went to $58,000!!!  Yes, you heard me right!  About a year’s pay for most of us!  But … the NCAA has rules, and one is that its scholarship students cannot get outside contributions.  Emily would have to give the money back to the donors, or risk losing her scholarship.

Eventually, the NCAA relented in light of Emily’s special circumstances, and Emily was able to keep the money, which will help her get through the next three years of school.  Isn’t it a damn shame, though, that two parents can just disown their child for no reason at all other than their religion tells them to hate gay people?  Damn shame.


Jim Acosta is back … BUT …

AcostaYesterday, Jim Acosta had his full White House press credentials returned to him, and as a result, CNN has dropped their lawsuit.  I was a bit surprised, glad for Acosta, but in one sense, leery of CNN having dropped the lawsuit.  It seems to me that until this is stamped “Paid”, the issue is likely to rise again and again.  But then …

Later in the day, the White House released Trump’s new set of ‘rules’ by which the press must play.  They are as follows:

Please be advised of the following rules governing future press conferences:

(1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;

(2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;

(3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner;

(4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.

My opinion?  This is a blatant attempt to curtail the freedom of the press.  However, given that neither Sanders nor Trump never … NEVER … answer any of the questions that are important, the White House press briefings have become a joke, and his press conferences even more so.  I would love to see the mainstream media boycott the press briefings for about a week, for the really important things will be found out by other means anyway, not from Ms. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  The press will, as they have been forced to do for nearly two years now, have to rely on those ‘anonymous’ and ‘insider’ sources, for that is the only way that We The People will have any idea what our paid government officials are up to.

I look for Sanders/Trump to seize on any excuse to pull the creds of reporters who don’t “play nice”, those who, like Acosta, ask the tough questions, hold the prez accountable.  When that happens, I hope to see lawsuits by any and all of the media outlets.  SOMEBODY needs to hold Donald Trump’s feet to the fire, and if our free press cannot do it … then who can?  Who will? Think about that one.


And since I have more, but am already over 1,000 words, I shall quit for now and produce Part II a bit later.  No need to thank me for sharing my angst … ’twas my pleasure!

Snippets Filled With Snarky …

So many things of interest in the news yesterday, that I don’t know where to begin.  Let’s start with my favourite …


The bully is losing his pulpit …

  • “The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform.”
  • “Apple does not tolerate hate speech. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
  • “We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe. It’s why we have community standards and remove anything that violates them, including hate speech that attacks or dehumanizes others.”
  • “When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”

Alex JonesFinally we are coming to see that there is a very real danger in the hate speech of Alex Jones and his ilk, and finally social media is taking a stand against it.  I am pleased.  Alex Jones, on the other hand, is not.

Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars’ editor at large, wrote, “Spotify has now completely banned Infowars too. Apple, Facebook, Spotify all within 12 hours of each other. This isn’t enforcement of terms of service, it’s coordinated big tech censorship. This is real election meddling.”

Jones tweeted (Twitter hasn’t yet banned him) that “America has been sold out”.  But then, to make it all better, he urged his followers to buy a t-shirt from him!  What a great guy, eh?Alex Jones shirt 2


Proof of ignorance, yet again …

The California wildfires started in early April this year and many are still less than half contained.  One of the fires nearly doubled in size over the weekend, making it the largest fire in the history of California.  Currently, 16 major fires are still burning in hot, dry and windy conditions.  At last count, more than 600,000 acres have burned, there have been at least 12 fatalities, and the cost is estimated to be more than $500 million.  The Carr fire alone destroyed more than 1,000 homes and I have no estimate for the total number of homes destroyed thus far, but I would guess it is at least in the tens of thousands. CA wildfireA pretty major disaster for our California residents, wouldn’t you say?  And yet, Donald Trump remained silent and apparently oblivious until Sunday.  He should have stayed silent and oblivious.

“California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

And still not knowing when to shut up, he continued on Monday …

“Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water – Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.”

GOOD GRIEF!!!  The ‘man’ has absolutely no idea what he is even talking about!  State officials and firefighting experts dismissed the president’s comments. “We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency.

According to Henri Grissino-Mayer, a geography professor at the University of Tennessee, “California does NOT divert water to the ocean. Ridiculous. It’s true that water is diverted to the coastal cities for a constant water supply but all such water is used by the coastal communities.”

Somebody needs to remind Mr. Trump that he represents every single person in the United States, and that includes Californians.  If I were a resident of California, I would want to go to Washington and slap his face.  Oh wait … I want to do that anyway.  And just how many more times does Trump need to prove that he is both ignorant and incompetent before his followers come out from under their trance?


Trump loses a follower …Juarez.jpgSargeant Cuauhtemoc “Temo” Juarez is an Iraq combat veteran who served as a Marine infantryman and then an Army National Guardsman.  He is a U.S. citizen and, until last week was a Trump supporter.  He has been married to his wife, Alejandra, for twenty years and they have two daughters, Pamela, 16, and Estela, age 9.  Alejandra came to this country illegally as a teenager more than 20 years ago, and has lived with her husband and two daughters in Davenport, Florida.  Until Friday, when she was deported.juarez-2Yes, you heard me right.  She was taken from her husband and daughters and sent to Mexico, a country where she is now a stranger.  Until last week, Temo didn’t really believe it would happen.  The couple had met with lawyers, there is a bill in her name pending in Congress, and they had contacted immigration officials asking for a hearing before an immigration judge.  But all their efforts were for naught, and on Friday Ms. Juarez returned, against her will, to Mexico under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

Mr. Juarez, once a supporter of Donald Trump, says “I am eating my words” in an interview with military newspaper Stars and Stripes.  What a way to treat a veteran who did three tours of duty in Iraq, eh?  Don’t expect any acts of human kindness from this administration, folks.


Pooh is not welcome in China …

Pooh-1-aYou may not remember, but it was just over a year ago that I wrote a post about Winnie the Pooh and his friends Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger and the rest being banned from China.  An attempt to seek them out on China’s social media outlet Weibo returned a message of “content is illegal”.  All this came about because Pooh and his friends had a bit of fun taking some photos of Pooh emulating Chinese President Xi Jinping.  They say that imitation is a sincere form of flattery, but Xi was apparently not flattered.

Last Friday, the new Winnie the Pooh movie, Christopher Robin, was released in the U.S.  China’s film authorities, however, have denied permission for the film’s release.  It has been suggested that the censorship of Pooh bear may be taking place because the comparisons with the President are seen by Beijing as “a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself”.  I sure am glad we don’t have such a thin-skinned leader!  {sarcasm dripping}

I feel sorry for all the poor Chinese kids who are being deprived of one of the most joyous icons of childhood, Pooh and friends.


And that wraps up this episode of Filosofa’s Snarky Snippets!  Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for more in the foreseeable future!  Have a great day, my friends!