Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Correction: Obama had already identified the targeted countries

Monday, January 30, 2017

"Who hasn't Trump banned? . . .

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Women's March

Sorry I'm a little late to the party--I've been working on a major project for my boss and recuperating from a major cold.  I was both too sick and too scared to go to either the Washington, D.C., or New York City march--I tend to freak out in large crowds.  I think my husband is going to be the designated demonstrator.

But I saw plenty of coverage on television.  Here are my favorite moments.

Best poster, carried by an older woman:  "I can't believe I'm still demonstrating against this sh*t."

Best interview:  A woman explaining that Planned Parenthood had saved her life by diagnosing her cervical cancer, thus enabling her to get treatment and go on to have the two daughters who were standing by her side.

Best video:  The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper, recorded live among the demonstrators in Washington, stroking a plaque on a building and saying, "I'll miss you"--after which the camera pulled back to take in a wider shot, and revealed that the plaque on the building said Environmental Protection Agency.

I'll miss you, too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

President Trump

. . . is now officially the President of the United States.

Welcome to the Deconstruction Era.

After the Civil War, we had a Reconstruction Era.

Now, we're going in the opposite direction (see here), one in which "we've just sold the federal government to the highest bidders (be the bids monetary and/or of the flattery-will-get-you-everywhere-with-Trump variety)."

The goal of Trump and/or his government--it's not clear that those are always the same--is to dismantle or disable the federal government as much as possible, and to force state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and/or individuals to assume the responsibilities formerly "covered" by the feds, and/or to sell the right to provide formerly-government-supported services, such as air-traffic controllers and public infrastructure, to private businesses.  People, pay for your own pensions, health care, and education.  Monitor your own occupational safety.  Consumers, protect yourselves, 'cause we're here to protect business and industry, not you.  While you're at it, pay Joe, Inc., for air-traffic controllers and Jane, Inc., for that new bridge.  As for national parks, forests, monuments, etc., they're just there to be exploited:  Drill, baby, drill--frack 'em!

Trump didn't "drain the swamp," as he'd promised during his campaign--he just replaced one swamp (professional politicians and government employees) with another one (big-business deal-makers).  Say goodbye to a competent government and hello to a Goldman Sachs take-over.

Let's hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Out of the loop

I set up both Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for myself some years ago, but I don't use them.  I don't have a ton of spare time, and I'd rather blog, read, or contact folks the old-fashioned way, by calling them or writing to them directly.  But this has, apparently, put me at a social disadvantage.  Someone I know breaks a bone, and I find out maybe two weeks later.  Someone else's grandchild is named, and I finally learn the baby's name about three weeks later.  Eventually, I may have to give up being so old-fashioned, just to keep up with everyone.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"

Here's the original, from the movie "The Wizard of Oz," courtesy of Critical Commons.  With one of their notes:  " . . . the god-like Wizard is in fact a regular man operating a smoke-and-mirrors illusion . . . "

The Wizard is President-Elect Donald Trump.

The man behind the curtain is Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence, not to mention Congress, Trump's cabinet and agency appointees, etc.

I've decided to ignore the Wizard as much as possible, and to focus on the folks behind the curtain, because that's where most of the incoming government's decisions are going to be made.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Not their/our brothers' keepers?

I read a number of divrei Torah (discussions of sacred texts or ideas) in the last couple of weeks, and can't remember who mentioned this, but one of the writers made an interesting point--Yosef's (Joseph's) brothers don't seem to have been any more upset about leaving Shim'on behind as an imprisoned hostage than they'd been about selling Yosef into slavery.  (I'm generally known for not being fond of most midrashim, but I did write one myself some years ago--see Shim'on here. Remember me?)

What about us, today?  Are we our brothers' and sisters' keepers?  How can we help refugees without harming our own country?  What will we do for our family, friends, and other fellow Americans if the time comes when only the wealthy can afford to stay healthy?  I wish that these questions were simply matters of idle speculation, but, unfortunately, they're not.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


From the time of its birth until the present, Medinat Yisrael/the State of Israel has taken in thousands of Jewish refugees, be they from North Africa, Iraq, Yemen, the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, etc.  Though the integration of all of these groups into the Israeli mainstream has been far from perfect, Yemenites, ex-Soviets, Ethiopians and other immigrants serve in the military together and share the rights of citizenship.

Yet the other states of the Middle East have been refusing to resettle Palestinian refugees, holding them virtual prisoners in refugee camps, for over 60 years.

And now, they're "exporting" the Syrians.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates are wealthy countries.  Why do they refuse to accept the responsibility of caring for their own Muslim and/or Arab neighbors?

Who died and left Angela Merkel in charge?

Honestly, I feel sorry for her.  She was just trying to do the right thing by providing humanitarian assistance to people fleeing from war.  The thanks she got was an inability and/or unwillingness of at least some of the Syrian Muslim refugees to assimilate into German culture, putting the Germanic character and the safety of her country, and her continued status as Chancellor of Germany, at risk.

Similar problems seem to be occurring in other countries that have accepted substantial numbers of Syrian refugees, leading many Americans to wonder whether it's wise for the U.S. to admit such large contingents to our own shores.

Yet, I'm forced to ask whether I, myself, have a right to agree, having benefitted from my country's open door.  After all, my own ancestors chose to immigrate to the U.S. rather than remain in their original destination, Italy, after escaping from Czarist Russia.

What a quandary.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

I can't keep up with the news--& most of it is bad :(

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

U.S.: "Another day older & deeper in debt"

Here's the original, which I believe is a folk song from coal-mining country.

"You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store"

(Coal-miners' pay was spent largely at the mining-company-owned store, leaving miners frequently in debt to their employer.)

Last night, on MSNBC's "The Last Word," host Lawrence O'Donnell showed some calculations demonstrating how appallingly far in debt the United States will be, both this year and in future years, if the new Republican Congress continues to budget in the manner currently planned.  (If you watch this today, this link will take you directly to that segment of yesterday's show).  Tax cuts combined with increased spending will do that sort of thing.  To our children.  :(

It seems to me that many people who voted for Donald Trump for president, and possibly some who did not, don't see the connection between taxes and programs/services/benefits.  With what money, exactly, does the federal government pay for the Armed Forces, the Department of Homeland Security, Medicare, the air traffic controllers (who are all employees of the Department of Transportation), Social Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Transportation Safety Board, Medicaid, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Affordable Care Act/"ObamaCare," the Department of Veterans Affairs, SNAP/food stamps, the National Park Service, etc., if not with money raised through taxation?  Sure, I'd love a tax cut as much as the next person, but I understand that there's a price to be paid, mainly by future generations, and a sky-high national debt is not a legacy that I wish to leave.

We've a new Congress now, what do we get
Another day older and deeper in debt
G-d in heaven please forgive us 'cause we can't give thanks
We owe our na-tion to overseas banks

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

A comment concerning a Volvo commercial

See the video for yourself.

You may think that I've fallen off the planet, but I'm still around, though I can't find the time to blog as often as I'd prefer.

Here's a quick thought, though, now that I'm rudely interrupted myself:  Does the linked commercial work best, or only, because the "star" thereof is healthy, relatively young, appears to be unattached and childless, and--big-ticket item--is a white male?
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