Monday, April 13, 2015

Call To Post: The Horses Approach the Starting Gate

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the 'rents are moving to Minnesota. Now, all things considered, moving anywhere can be pretty traumatic, especially when you're a nonagenarian; going from Flah-rida to the tundra is a particularly odd change. But Minnesota bound they are, and we (my bro and I) are in the throes of getting stuff organized for the big day when he and my sister-in-law will accompany them north.

So last Monday, instead of writing to all my gentle readers, I was on a very early morning flight to Flah-rida to get the ball rolling. I arrived and went right to work on the first sorting pass.  After dinner, Arthur, living up to his knightly name, came to rescue me. In other words, it being Passover and all, he took me out for a much needed potato vodka Bloody Mary. By the time I got home, I was in no condition to write much of anything except, "no intro today," because I really was falling asleep at the keyboard. We also went out for vodka the next night, and the night after that. I don't think I would've gotten through the week without him. 

And as long as I'm talking about Arthur, let me just tell you that this man has the patience of a saint. He is the son of my parents' dear friends, Jules (z"l) and Juliette (z"l) and I have known him literally since the day I was born.  Because he actually lives just down the road from my folks, he has been their wheels, their advocate, their friend, and their cell-phone programmer. My bro and I are so thankful to have had him in such close proximity these last couple of years. We are forever indebted to Arthur for his loving kindnesses to our parents.

So now you know. 

In other, more worldly news, the race to the White House has begun in earnest. So far, the GOP field has two candidates: Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, with Tweedle Dumbest waiting in the wings. What is wrong with these people? The amount of money Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker are about to waste on this exercise in stupidity is just plain staggering. None of these three have the brains to be the leader of the free world, not to mention the emotional chip needed to actually look concerned. 

Dr. Random Thoughts is a book-toting, philosophy-swinging adherent of Ayn Rand's Objectivism school of thought. And if you aren't sure what that means, follow the link and prepare to have your eyes cross. This man thinks climate change isn't real. He sure backpedals fast when you ask him about gutting Social Security and Medicare. Y'know, I wonder if he owns stock in the company that makes the dray-carts for "Bring Out Your Dead" days. 

Senator Rub-Me-The-Wrong-Way is one smooth talker. He can lob the bullshit with the best of them. But when it comes right down to it, he's a Tea Party patsy who is ready to throw the middle class under every bus he can find. Sure, he's the product of immigrant parents...where are the birthers to ask for his certification?... but his idea of budget balancing is on the backs of the lowest economic rungs while slashing corporate taxes. He's also big on putting lots of boots on all sorts of grounds without so much as a hint of a plan to pay for any of it...except by increasing the deficit by trillions. Kids and seniors...forget them; they have no value in his world. He wants to make Medicare a pay-as-you-go scheme, thereby insuring seniors can be gouged by the insurance companies and for-profit hospitals.  Do we look that stupid? Apparently so. 

As for Tweedle Dumbest in the wings: Scott Walker has done such a bang-up job ruining...I mean running Wisconsin that we really need him to do the same to the rest of the country. After all, he can deal with those pesky ISIS folks the same way he took down the unions in his state. Yep. That's just what we need in the White House: more delusional thinking. 

None of these guys ever heard of interstate commerce and infra-structure. They never gave a whit about our transportation system and how goods get to market. Hell, they don't even know where the goods are made. But they sure know all about boots and bombs, insurance and capital gains. They know about off-shoring and tax havens, but they know nothing about potable water, breathable air, or the polar ice caps. This are not worth worrying about because, as the Ferengi would say, there is no profit in it. 

And all three agree that a woman should have no control whatsoever over her own body. What's next for us frail little things? Burqas? Sex-slavery? Legalized discrimination in the work place? And this is different from the Taliban, ISIS, and Wahhabism how? 

Now, in all fairness, I have to say that I would love more than a one-horse race on the Dems side. There needs to be a compare-and-contrast kinda thing going on. I wish Bernie Sanders would run….but he’s not only too independent, he’s Jewish so that’s a non-starter. Elizabeth Warren says she won’t run, which is disappointing. Andy Cuomo is too busy being vilified in New York State to do much good. And neither Al Franken nor Amy Klobuchar, either one would be fine with me, have shown any interest in wasting their time.

Interestingly, CNN aired a show on Monday morning that contained the following exchange between their anchor Carol Costello and Ana Navarro , a CNN political commentator:

COSTELLO:   Good morning. Nice to have you here. 
So, Ana, if you look at Clinton's new FaceBook page, it's like a Clinton family photo album. Take a look. There's Hillary and Bill Clinton at the altar. And you'll see a picture of Clinton with baby Chelsea, Bill and Hillary in the Arkansas governor's mansion with the tiny Chelsea. Does America want a wife, mother and grandma in the White House, Ana?  
NAVARRO:  Oh, Carol, I think it's not a qualifier, and I don't think it's a disqualifier. I don't think anybody should be disqualified because they're a mother, a wife or a grandmother. But I think there [sic] need to be much more than that. 

[Tip o’the hat to my friend Kelly O’Sullivan for posting the grandma quote on Face Book.] 

My response to that question is a resounding, YES. I do want a wife, mother, and grandma in the White House. At least we’ll have someone who can multitask and actually accomplish something. I cannot imagine my father being able to run the house and the kids and everything else with the same efficiency as my mother. And on the few occasions Ziggy gave it a whirl, well, let's just say I was welcomed home with open arms. 

Now before you accuse me of a Scott Walker-esque comparison here, think about it before you dismiss it out of hand. The men have screwed things up beyond recognition. One more unfunded war is gonna put us over the edge. I'm not so sure a woman could just push the seniors onto an ice-floe and leave the kids in the gutter. Why not have a woman leader of the free world? Other countries have done it. America is so far behind in universal health care, affordable tuition, and minimum wage that this is just one more embarrassing factoid.

If Hillary Rodham Clinton is not perfect, name one guy who is. Tell me which of the GOP sacrificial goats isn't out there for the benefit of anyone except We, the People. And for all her faults, and she has many, I still think Hillary is the first one out the gate who might actually give a damn about the rest us. 

Truth be told, the field will change a hundred times before we get to the primaries. Stuff will change, there will be one gaff or another to weed out the nut-balls from the really-possibles. Still, now is the time to start reading. Don't sit back and wait for someone else to tell you what to think. Look at your bank statements, your tax bills, and your income-to-debt ratio. 

Then think about who is gonna give you the best bang for your buck....and where that buck is going. It's all about the economy.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
When planning spaces for a senior, remember a path between furniture pieces
 must be wide enough to accommodate the walker. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

No intro today

It's been a very long day and I am falling asleep at the keyboard.

All will be revealed next week. I promise. 

The WP.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Now We Are Free

This has been an insane week over at Chez Wifely. So much is going on I don't know where to begin! We got the “go” and now 'rents are gearing up for their move to L'Étoile du Nord at the end of next month. I'm running around like a headless chicken trying to put together furniture for their new place. At 92 and 94, they cannot be camping out in sleeping bags the first week. Wednesday morning, unbeknownst to me, my iPod Touch managed to do a header outta my pocket in order to spend 8 hours in a very clean toilet. Thursday was spent worrying about said iPod Touch. Friday, I skipped outta work early and went to look at a headboard for the folks, and replaced the kitchen chairs instead...finally having found gorgeous Danish modern chairs with rush seats that match the teak kitchen table perfectly. It's true, I am a total sucker for mid-century (especially Danish) modern furniture...and I found this little store called MIDMODMEN on University Avenue at Raymond.. everyone has to swear to do everything in their power to keep me the hell away from there. OMG. There was this chair.........

And my first Passover as savta is coming up fast since the holiday from hell starts this Friday night and even though I'm making the second seder Saturday night, I gotta get 99% of the stuff done before Shabbat starts on Friday at sundown. I'm already thinking about all the traditions and green glass plates I have to hand down to my granddaughter. 

And while we're on the subject, Passover just happens to be a holiday about freedom. And while we're reliving our departure from Egypt, we should try not to forget that this year there may need to be a departure from Indiana.

Not to quote stuff seen on Facebook, but a conversation on my cousin Barry's page got me to thinking. We all love Barry dearly, even when he was trying to found the Civil Wrongs party back in the 60s. These days, however, he seems to be more of a pragmatist...and is the resident cynic over at Tom Sumner's ARMCHAIR POLITICS program on Flint's WKUF-LP radio. Which brings me back to his FB page and some of his weird friends. Like the one who thinks all states and the federal government have all passed the same Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The back-and-forth in the comments was enough to make me wonder why people don’t read stuff before they go off ranting about it. Barry came off like the voice of reason.

From the Washington Post
Which made me wonder about RFRA laws and the differences between them. 20 states and the federal government have theme and variation of the law…are they all equal?

The Atlantic ran a brilliant article, What Makes Indiana's Religious Freedom Law Different and I would highly recommend everyone read it. Garrett Epps has done a bang-up job explaining the differences between the federal law and the ones passed by 19 other states. There are some glaring differences, and Indiana's version of the law is significantly different from most of the others in two important aspects: 

  1. It allows for-profit businesses to exert the right to "the free exercise of religion."
  2. And the law includes the following statement: “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” 

The federal version, and most of the state versions, specifically exclude for-profit business from the "free exercise of religion," something that has traditionally been limited to religious organizations and private non-profits. By allowing for-profit institutions to exert that right, it opens the door.... or rather, closes the door.... to anti-discrimination laws. 

And the new law goes even further than that. The language of the second part provides a valid defense for businesses or individuals choosing to discriminate in the case of a lawsuit. If you think that's far-fetched, think Hobby Lobby and their recently sanctioned ability to deny their employees access to contraception under their insurance policy. 

I suppose one can say this is a state's right issue, but it really isn't. This is an "equal protection under the law" issue and not one that can be legislated in a local legislature. If that were the case, we would probably still have slavery in the south. But we don't. We are 50 united states and as such, citizens on the nation are entitled to a standard of equal protection across the country. Civil rights cannot shift between state borders; they must be consistent.

When we turn our backs on our own citizens, when there is an attempt to deny civil rights to a group or a class, when we declare that all people are not created equal, we are digging our own national grave.  We lose that one thing that made us the hope of the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We betray everything We, the People, have striven to represent in this world.  Walk away from civil rights, and we walk away from the tattered remnants of what used to be called American exceptionalism. We become just like the rest of them. We emulate the Venetians who built the very first ghetto in 1510. We become the Inquisition, the Nazis, the Taliban, and ISIS, all organizations that separated people into a hierarchy of who was okay…. and who was not.

When Indiana signs into law an act that has the power to give business the right to say, “We don’t do business with homosexuals,” how far are we really from “we don’t do business with Jews…or Blacks…. or Muslims…?”

I don’t know about any of you, but the answer to that question scares the hell outta me.

Oh, yeah. The iPod is just fine. And yes, I used the bag o'rice method to dry it out. Gotta be thankful for the little things. 

The Wifely Person’s Tip of the Week
For fluffy matzah balls, use seltzer instead of water or broth, and
separate your eggs; beat the whites to soft peaks before folding them into the rest of the stuff. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Eyes on Your Own Paper, People!

Okay...time for a US History Pop Quiz:

Who qualifies to be president?

a)    Born in a foreign country to 2 American-born parents.
b)    Born in a foreign country to one American-born parent and one resident alien.
c)    Born in the United States to one American born parent and one foreign citizen.
d)    Born in a British colony to 2 non-American parents.
e)    All of the above
f)     A, b, c, but not d

g)    None of the above

If you chose “g,” you’ve chosen poorly ~ you’re a birther and really need to either go to school and listen this time, or, at the very least, learn to read.

If you chose “f,” you’re closer but still wrong.

If you chose e, you’re actually know something about this country. Anyone who has half a functioning brain knows that the earliest presidents (8 of the first 9, with Martin Van Buren being the exception) were born British subjects; they could not possibly be born to American citizens because there were no American citizens before June 18th, 1787. If I have to explain that, then maybe you should just skip voting until you have this psyched out.

The first version of the Act of Naturalization was passed in 1790. So, here are the people to whom the choices apply:

a)    John McCain – born in the Canal Zone while his dad was stationed in Panama. Kinda the same for Mitt's dad George Romney who ran for president in 1968 was born while his folks were living in Mexico.
b)    Ted Cruz –  born in Canada…making him a Canadian citizen as well as a US citizen. His mom was born in Delaware, and his dad, a Cuban, was not yet a citizen, but apparently had a green card. His dad was working for an oil company in Calgary, Alberta. By virtue of his mother’s citizenship, he is considered “natural born.”
c)    Barack Obama – born in Hawaii (which was already a state) to an American mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father. Because he was born in the US, he is automatically a citizen. That his mother was American is nice, but he would still be a citizen without her. His father doesn’t matter at all.

d)    George Washington. He was a resident when America became the United States, and was therefore considered a “natural” citizen and was eligible to be President…as were John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and William Henry Harrison. (#8, Van Buren, born in 1782...after the Declaration of Independence, was a mere stripling…55 years old… when he became president in 1837.)

Now, does everyone have that straight? Ted Cruz, even though he was born in Canada and first renounced his Canadian-by-birth citizenship in 2014, is eligible to be president. So is, come to think of it, Bobby Jindal who was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to parents from Punjab, India.

Let’s get something straight right from the get-go: there will be no tit-for-tat birther baloney in this blog. Cruz and Jindal may be elitist, hate-mongering, misogynistic pond scum, but they are American pond scum and as such, have the right (certainly not the left) to run for POTUS.

But it’s Ted Cruz who has thrown the first hat into the ring. There are some fundamental things wrong with Cruz, not the least of which is his lack of experience with telling the truth. The guy has a Christie-sized problem with doing his due diligence on information. I suppose you can blame his peeps, but he has to own some of this, too. Stuff like “skyrocketing” insurance premiums; advocating for smaller government and not letting the government get between a person and HIS doctor, except that same paradigm doesn’t apply to women seeking comprehensive reproductive health care. Then it’s perfectly okay to interject the government, a magic wand, and whatever the hell else he thinks is necessary to prevent a woman from obtaining birth control. And for the son of an immigrant who was born in another country, his stand…or lack thereof…on immigration makes no sense whatsoever.  Still, enough people bought into his cockabarley to make him a Senator.

Now, here’s the part I don’t get: why announce the candidacy now?

It’s pretty clear that even as a teapot conservative this guy doesn’t stand a chance. He gives this whacko speech at Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian university…and it’s such a jumble of contradictions that who knows what the hell he stands for…that is when he’s not trying to channel John Lennon who would’ve probably sued the pants off him for even intimating there is a similarity between them. The papers are already skewering him into next week and beyond. This guy is a patsy.

Nope; he's no player. He’s a diversion. Someone set him up for this, and I think it was someone who is hoping he’ll seem to be so far to the right that Jeb’s gonna look like a centrist-moderate kinda candidate.

This is a wee bit o’sleight’o’hand meant to divert our attention for a moment so the "right" candidate can come on like the party savior. The GOP doesn’t have a reliable candidate, at least not yet, and they are gonna parade these guys like a perp walk until they can get a pulse on who is even remotely electable.

Oh, wait! Muppet News Flash: Donald Trump is questioning Ted Cruz’s citizenship creds!

The morons are beginning to ooze out from beneath their rocks! Everybody ready?????

And I will make this solemn promise to you all: I will hock, I will rant, I will rave, and I will calls those sleazy morons a variety of names…but I will work diligently to get my facts straight. And if you catch any incorrectness, you let me know right away and I will correct it. 

We’re talking about facts here…not opinions. I retain my right to opine at will. And I will opine so don't you be worrying your heads about that one. 

The game’s afoot! Let the fun begin!

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Shooting off  your mouth or your typing figure without vetting stuff is just plain wrong.
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