Tag Archives: News

In the name of all that is decent

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8, King James Version of the Bible

I know I should have sought a Jewish passage for Justice Bader-Ginsberg, but that one jumped to mind.

Consider taking a small action

Don’t let this great woman become just another campaign rally event for someone who has no respect what-so-ever for the constitution and laws of our land.

In addition to voting in the election there are other ways to make your opinion known.

The current incumbent of the White House is again pushing against all that is even marginally decent. By announcing his proposed replacement for Justice Ginsberg before the dirt has had time to settle on her grave.

Please do not watch his obscene news conference. Instead spend the time honoring the truly great person Justice Ginsberg was. There are numerous movies and programs available to stream during that time. Please, don’t let her passing become just another campaign event for a petty dictator. Let the ratings reflect your priorities: honor and decency over a three-ring-circus.

A different kind of prepping

Another Wordy Wednesday for me.

My Pinterest feed has been popping up a lot of “prepping” articles lately, leading me to believe that a lot of people are very pessimistic right now. I understand that. But I think the “preppers” have the wrong end of the stick.

With the passing of RBG, the T-party has embarked on yet another power grab. It’s getting boring.

The US Constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on anymore.

Give up protesting, kids, the first amendment** is toast at this point. Also, protesting just gives the T-Party a target, and attention, for reprehensible behavior. But, also…

The real risks right now are fiscal. But don’t panic, prepare.

Vote…and prepare for a depression

Medical expenses are no joke, and medical insurance is not cheap.

The Affordable Car Act is gone, give it up. There is no way to save it. If the Senate flips and Joe Biden is elected president, there might be a new plan, maybe even a better one, but don’t hold your breath. If the senate doesn’t flip, forget it. The Republicans haven’t ever done anything meaningful on health care and they won’t start now.

We all need to take stock of our finances and figure out how to manage without health insurance if you get COVID (or anything else) and cannot work. COBRA insurance costs an arm and a leg, and paying for it may mean some serious sacrifices if you have not accrued some savings before hand.

Remember that POTUS has already signed an executive order that de-funds Medicare and Social Security until the end of the year. The promise to make that permanent means that NOW is the time to get your finances in order, before the payments stop.

Figure out how you will manage without Medicare and Social Security. If you rely on the Affordable Care Act, figure out how you will either manage without health insurance or pay the increased costs.

Spending money stocking up on beans and ammo* may not be the best use for it. A better idea is to make sure to have money on hand. A massive pile of bullets or beans won’t help you pay medical bills…And if you don’t pay those you may wind up on the streets. And those streets are already full of people who went that way before you. The best shopping carts are gone. (That is a reference to an old Dilbert cartoon.)

It also means not borrowing more and paying down any debt you have, maybe giving up on a few luxuries like high price cable, Disney or Netflix.

We went down to one, paid-off, older car a couple of years ago. Savings on insurance alone were big. Maybe you could live in a more modest house…that could save a bundle. I’m putting off things like new carpets (my current one is about 40 years old) and my rummage sale wardrobe is holding up quite well. My husband likely never will finish replacing our fence, but we saved $20 grand over having it done by a contractor, and the dogs aren’t really inclined to roam…

Think through your medical choices and get your will in order

Like the teachers who responsibly made out their wills as they were being forced back to work, we all need to think about how we will manage.

While I plan to keep hiding away in the basement, wearing a mask when I do go out, and generally avoiding people to prevent getting sick (or making others sick), I have already decided that I do not plan to seek any treatment if I do get very sick, from COVID or cancer, or what-ever, in hopes that there will be something left for my son to inherit.

The younger generation is at a tremendous disadvantage: the plethora of jobs created recently are pretty much crap, like serving beer, delivering Amazon packages, and driving Ubers, with low pay and no benefits.

I do sometimes wonder

Will The Economy (as measured by stock indices) eventually reflect what’s going on in our homes?

*Most of the articles on “prepping” are very thinly veiled marketing to get you to spend (waste) a bunch of money so the authors will get rich.

**Second amendment folks shouldn’t get too cocky: they will be next.

Uneasy money

I’ve been following the news lately and pondering about “The Economy”. These days The Economy is being treated as a living entity. We are being bullied to do unsafe things for its sake.

The Economy has more respect and right to life than human beings. The USA recently passed 190,000 COVID-19 deaths with no fanfare from the press, or any acknowledgement of that grim milestone of pain from our dear leaders, but plenty of assurances from those same “leaders” that The Economy is healthy.

Pretty, but you can’t buy food or pay rent with it.

What is The Economy?

Continue reading Uneasy money

Another must see for US citizens

I have been in deep depression this weekend. I was already down after the ridiculosity of the TNC* and violence of last week. But I have a college age niece who lives in Portland… The images of Trump supporting, crassly immature, wanna-be real men driving their phallic symbol pickup trucks as they acted out some kind of video-game fantasy by shooting randomly at people (paint balls can hurt people and mace is a weapon) raised my ire.

This clip by John Oliver contains some foul language**, but it puts into words a lot of what I’ve been groping to express.

Continue reading Another must see for US citizens

Another wordy Wednesday

If you aren’t caring about the political situation in the USA this post isn’t for you. I am working on a post of late summer in the garden that should be done soon.

I’m following the Democratic National Convention this week. This is the first time I will have seen it in full. I figured out how to stream it from PBS.

I have also been following the news a bit. I have a major peeve. I am really getting sick of people speaking as if Ms. Obama attacked the current resident of the White House. She spoke calmly, lucidly, eloquently and sincerely. Yet the news describes her speech using the same words that are used to describe tirades by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Janine Pirro. There is simply no comparison. They are not calm, lucid, eloquent or sincere.

I would also point out that if people truly believed that the current incumbent had done a good job then they would not judge her use of his own words to describe his presidency as “it is what it is” as an insult. The real insult was his insult to the citizens of this nation when he chose to use that phrase to speak of what was then over 150,000, and is now over 170,000, deaths due to Covid 19.

While I am at it, because I feel it is a related complaint, I would like to point out that after reading that the current incumbent had gone on about how “mean” Senator Harris was to Brett Kavanaugh and others. I reviewed the videos and she said things like “would you please answer the question?” she was never rude, simply polite but not letting them get away without answering the questions. When one compares this to the rudeness to which Congressman Jordan subjected Dr. Fauci, there is no comparison.

I am getting sick of this miss-characterization of people who are being courteous, calm and reasoned in testimony and debate as comparable to the frothing-at-the-mouth, bat-crap-crazy “conservatives”.

Keep Remembering the kids

I finally found a news report with an update about the children.

PBS Newshour: Fewer than 200 migrant children remain separated from their parents

I feel like the headline is misleading. What they actually mean is that fewer than 200 are eligible to be helped by the class action lawsuit.

There are an additional 220 children who are deemed no longer a part of the class-action lawsuit. If you add that to the 182 who are deemed part of the class action that is a total of 402 still in government custody. to my mind that isn’t brilliant progress, the article on September 4 said that 416 remained in custody. Although it feels like they are not necessarily comparing apples to apples from week to week.

I have not been able to find out what happens to those 220 kids.

Hard to swallow

I took a break from the media news last week.

Busy week

It wasn’t a real break for me, I just had a bunch of closer to home events going on. I don’t rise to these occasions like I used to.

Grandma was sick, noro-virus, her nursing home was quarantined. It is good that they are so careful, but a pain in the hindquarters for me: Friday was her 95th birthday and I had plans that involved a party in one of their rooms.

Dad came home from Arizona and when he called his cell phone was dead and his cable TV was being weird. This matter for me only in that he won’t make phone calls so I have to go over and do the calls. It turned out that these problems resolved themselves over night (his phone charged and the cable company finished whatever work they were doing nearby, but we were there before we realized that. The island isn’t far, I live less than 10 miles away as the crow flies, but with ferries a quick trip is both difficult and a bit spendy, besides we hadn’t seen him since the beginning of January, so we hung out for a while.

It gave me a chance to make phone calls. I received the call from the social worker that same morning (Thursday, remember Friday was the birthday). I was on the phone trying to rent a wheel chair van and find a restaurant that I thought I could get her into (“accessible” means dramatically different things to different people). It took a quite a while and a slew of phone calls but I did get it arranged.

KSM-20180324-Fam_damnly-01

We did it! Everything went off well. I can’t say there were no hitches, but in the end that doesn’t really matter.

Back to the real world

Under the big top in the “other Washington”

My first taste of the news was reading A Lot from Lydia’s post: This Week of Trump’s. It made me glad I wasn’t paying attention to national news during the week. My stress level would have been even higher, and watching the crap unfold is a lot like watching a train wreck with a bunch of cars stuck on the track at uneven distances. Bang, bang bang. Pause. Bang. Pause. Bang, bang, bang, bang. Or hearing the firecrackers go off in China on auspicious days for weddings. You never know when you are going to get hit with the “hot noise”, or how far away it’s going to be. It draws attention from other issues.

One such issue: Deregulating airlines

This morning’s paper has a bunch of stuff (much already covered by Lydia). Since my husband reads the front section first, slowly, I grabbed the business section. The big headline on this section “Airlines strive to reverse rules protecting passengers”. My blood boiled. I find this hard to swallow.

The paper also had an article, “Why is it so hard to get the airline seat you want?” You should read it. But, spoiler alert, it doesn’t point to an industry that deserves to be trusted to police itself, or have the extremely minimal consumer protections in existence revoked.

The thing that bugs me most is that, while the article mentions that the US Department of Transportation has to hold hearings about changes, there is no mention of how one can  make a comment for one’s self. Since many people fly that seems like a pretty big gap in information. It is also interesting that the story isn’t listed on the front page briefs of their web site under business. Although Florida’s foray into Atlantic Salmon farming made the cut.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation temporarily froze all pending airline-industry regulations as part of an administration push to cut the burden of red tape on American businesses. And it asked the public and airlines for comments on existing regulations that could be halted, revised or repealed.

There is a DC Industry trade group (lobby) called “Airlines for America”, as well as individual airlines, who, apparently, know how to get their requests in.

Airlines for America, a Washington, D.C.-based industry trade group, called the Transportation Department’s initiative “a much-welcomed shift from a decade’s-long Washington practice of regulatory interference in the market.”

On the “A4A” website:

A4A advocates on behalf of our members to shape crucial policies and measures that promote safety, security and a healthy airline industry.We work collaboratively with airlines, labor, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.

Notice that they don’t engage passengers (aka, sardines) in their collaboration? The logic is that passengers should be represented by the government. Does anyone else feel uneasy?

Random Reflections on Power #2

I have been studying Chinese first thing in the morning, before I get up for a while now, before my head is full of other things. This morning’s challenge was trying to make heads and tails of the difference between buy (买, mai–pronounced “my”– with a third tone) and sell (卖, mai with a fourth tone) as an almost tone deaf person. I had a bit of a headache when I arose and started reading the paper. It seemed full of Trumpery, which is often fairly bizarre. Today it seemed weirder than usual, and I don’t think it was due to my headache.

p_20180126_093952-996855681.jpg
Article in today’s Seattle Times.

The article itself was, frankly, neither news nor of particular interest: The First Family, as is traditional, borrows art from museums. Most first families make modest choices based on their individual tastes. The current one wanted a Van Gogh. In this case the requested art was old and frail and scheduled to be shown elsewhere, so the answer was “no”. Simple enough. The offer in the headline was a museum curator’s idea of making a point, perhaps inspired by Saturday Night Live. It’s funny…or at least it makes you laugh as a first response.

She was exercising her limited power. The offer was within her rights; it was also a bit tacky.

More importantly, it takes people’s attention away from the more serious actions of the day. Why talk about this today when it happened a while ago?

Other news today was things like: People on DACA are being used as hostages for the passage of ill conceived immigration and security measures. More examples of a president who has repeatedly tried to obstruct justice, both by abuse of power and by creating stories. Trade wars and devaluing the dollar.

Mention of all these were also in the paper, but the front page spread was about how Amazon’s workplace is a fancy green house. I understand this being on the first page of the local section. A more appropriate use of the column space on both the front page and this “Golden Toilet” article would have been to provide detailed information about the long term effects of the immigration and trade policies. We still haven’t seen a good description of everything that was in the tax bill passed last month.

I like to laugh as well as the next person, but it is not a good idea to let articles like this take our eyes away from the serious news of the day. Let Saturday Night Live take this one. We need to start asking newspapers to cover news.

Chinese for business is 买卖, (the second mai in this case takes the neutral, a.k.a. fifth, tone).  They won’t stop giving us the 买卖 until we stop responding favorably to it.

A little less fire and fury, please?

I finally slogged through the book Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, about the campaign and first months in office of the incumbent President of the USA.

To make things clearer to anyone who chooses to read this post: I believe that what is needed to improve the situation in the US is good parenting, and I do not use the name of someone who wants attention over every other goal unless attention is deserved.  This means, as many parents dealing with Difficult Toddlers know: give attention for okay behaviors, for unacceptable behaviors ignore them to the extent you are able, and if the situation is egregious give a time out. If the child runs into the street endangering himself and scaring the living daylights out of drivers, you can spank him.

Back to the topic: the book is not a page turner and part way through I felt like a patsy for buying it since it felt like the whole lawsuit-over-libel thing was made up to boost sales and increase readership so more people would see the Difficult Toddler as innocent. The theory that he wasn’t organized or intelligent enough to pull off collusion was repeated more than necessary. On the other hand I am understanding the articles in this week’s paper better. I have wondered a couple of times how many of the Op-Ed writers actually slogged through the whole book…

Several things bugged me about the book, but two stood out in making it hard for me to read: The book talks a lot about Steve Bannon, whom I dislike; and it was repetitive.

At first glance the book’s voice seems neutral, but it is often from the point of view of Mr. Bannon, by that I mean his worldview is presented as desirable. The whole “this is war” idea is ridiculous and didn’t need more respect than other, more rational, ideas going around at the same time. Bannon is, to put it extremely mildly, not my cup of tea, pun intended.

Aside to explain: I think the whole TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party is a bunch of selfish, illogical, uneducated, racist galoots. The one or two exceptions to this are taking advantage of the others, and I place Mr. Bannon among these. The Republican Party was having trouble with its numbers so it subsumed the TEA Party. It’s a pretty weird pairing, which is why the party is a schizophrenic mish-mash instead of a cohesive, at least semi-rational group. But that is a story for another day…or not.

Fire and Fury is very repetitive, to be expected from the news reports that come from the White House. In general I agree with those who say that the book didn’t really say anything that hadn’t come out other ways. The one thing the book did do, at least somewhat effectively, was to put those already known things in one place, allowing a pattern to emerge, instead of outrage for each individual incident taking center stage. The outrage itself is the key component of the pattern: A Difficult Toddler throwing temper tantrums for attention. Often prodded, or manipulated, into his tweet tantrums by all those trying to “handle” him, in order to distract the tax paying citizens from what they consider “real progress” (a.k.a, screwing us over to line their own pockets) or the last debacle.

I agree that the book isn’t Pulitzer prize level work, not surprising since little time was spent honing the prose in the race to publication. Mr. Wolff’s journalism, much maligned in the press the last couple of days, is what one expects from Breitbart/Fox “News” journalism, no better and probably not much, if any, worse. The attacks on it are disingenuous. If a similar book had been written about Hilary Clinton the administration would have said it was genius.

The real question is: how and why did this mess happen? and the book doesn’t help answer it. What causes people to suspend reason in the voting booth?

One clear example of this: In yesterday’s paper ( I still read them) there was an article about how farmers are concerned that the Difficult Toddler has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is trying to kill NAFTA, both of which are huge sources of income to farmers, who voted for him. He also has been trying to get rid of immigrant labor, which benefits farmers a whole lot. Why did they vote for someone who stated during the campaign that he was going to do these things? (the article was from the Washington Post if you want to look it up).

A second example: I personally know a couple who are immigrants. They have been for the 40 years that I’ve known them, bringing family members from the Philippines into the US by providing them with a job and green card. They were complaining how  difficult it is to get people here while Barack Obama was still in office. They are hard over Trump supporters, even though he is wanting to put the kibosh on this activity.

So what next? My suggestion would be to have all of the late night comedians ignore the Difficult Toddler, pretend he doesn’t exist, and have mainstream media not use use tweets as if they are real news. Call them rumors. “rumor has it that…” instead of “@RealDifficultToddler tweeted: “. Refrain from using the name unless behavior is reasonable. My prediction: No one is going to do this. And that is a big part of how we got to where we are, sensationalism and gossip are addictive. We may think we’re just venting, but we are really feeding the Fire and Fury.