Friday, March 31, 2017

On the premature deaths of the daffodils

Many of them just bloomed too early, and were promptly killed by late-winter weather--there they lie, their stems snapped.

I hear tell that something similar happened in Washington, DC--the cherry blossoms bloomed about three weeks earlier than usual, and were wiped out by a cold snap, deriving most of the tourists of their jollies.

This doesn't bode well for agriculture.  Will our food prices suffer because of crop damage caused by constant temperature shifts in this neighborhood, not to mention a west coast that's gone from drought to downpours practically overnight?

Speaking of agriculture . . .

[To be continued after Shabbat]

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The irony . . .

. . . of delivering a box of hand-made shmurah matzah in a shopping bag from a donut shop was lost on the deliverer.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Something silly to distract me

The original:
Old King Cole was a merry old soul
and a merry old soul was he
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,
and he called for his fiddlers three

An updated version:
Old King Trump was a grouchy old grump
And a grouchy old grump was he
He took out his phone, and sent tweets on his own,
and rebroadcast Fox News for free.  :)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cold War II

Start with a fishing expedition:  Go to The Rachel Maddow Show website and search the Latest Videos list for the 3/21/17 video titled "Russian info-war tactics in US election continue." (You might also wish to watch the 3/20/17 video to which Ms. Maddow refers, "Russia attacks to demonstrate parity with US on cyber-power."  )  Forewarning:  Ms. Maddow tends to open her show with commercial-free explaining-the-news segments that are about 20 minutes long.  But those segments are usually well worth the time--Ms. Maddow is an expert at connecting the dots.

I recently told my husband that I feel as if we've gone back to the "Duck and Cover" days of the 1950s, which I remember quite well from my elementary-school years.  In all seriousness, I haven't heard so much saber-rattling since the fall of the Soviet Union.  Putin is making nuclear noises, and Trump can't even understand why using nukes is a bad idea.  Speaking of nukes, there's also Iran, and the wild card, North Korea.  Having already lived through one cold war, I find all this war talk quite frightening.

Am I the only who thinks that increasing the U.S. military budget at the expense of other programs (such as environmental protection or health care) is problematic, and that expanding and modernizing the U.S. nuclear capacity is insane?

"What was the Tachash Covering the Tabernacle?"

I found this explanation at very interesting.  You may be surprised to learn that "tachash" means neither dolphin nor seal.

I'd still love to know how our ancestors (allegedly) got hold of all the luxury items (gold, silver, brass, previous stones, etc.) with which to build the Mishkan/Sanctuary in the Wilderness despite being former slaves and despite being in the middle of nowhere.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Good news, for a change

If Gorsuch had had his way, our son could not have received a good enough special education to end up with a Ph.D. in physics.  Three cheers to the Supreme Court for overturning his decision regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

G-d save the Brits :(

Four dead, at least 20 injured in UK parliament 'terrorist' attack

May the loved ones of the murdered be comforted, and may the wounded have a full recovery.

What's in it for me?

This is our son's opinion:  Many people don't care how damaging certain political policies can be unless those policies affect them directly.  By way of illustration, he points out that there are those who oppose gay rights until their son turns out to be gay, oppose abortion rights until their 17-year-old daughter gets pregnant, oppose Medicaid (government-provided medical coverage) for people in nursing homes until their mother ends up in one, oppose Meals on Wheels until their father needs them . . . well, you get the picture. 

Here's how the Jewish Daily Forward puts it:

"As goes the NEA [National Endowment for the Arts], so goes the Environmental Protection Agency, the Education Department and so much else. It’s not a coincidence that the same budget that eliminates the NEA eviscerates the EPA. Both cuts reflect the conservative position that the less government, the better. That’s why conservatives opposed the New Deal, opposed Medicare (which they called “socialized medicine”), opposed the Civil Rights Act and are poised to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Because rich people don’t want to give up any of their money, white people don’t want to give up any of their privilege, and corporations don’t want to give up any of their profits.

Never mind the public good that comes from accessible health care, equal rights or pollution laws. Just leave me alone, conservatives moan, and keep away from my hard-earned (or easily inherited) savings."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

No pain, no gain

That's a phrase that's usually applied to those seeking to improve their health and/or appearance through exercise and/or a change in eating patterns.

But it's equally true in politics.

I have no recollection of where I read this, but some time back, a Catholic nun complained that many pro-life supporters weren't pro-life, they were just pro-birth--many of them couldn't care less what happened to the baby after she/he was born, and refused to support, for example, paid parental leave, subsidized child care, and/or government-financed medical and educational assistance for children with disabilities.

A similar problem is occurring in the United States Congress regarding the proposed health care bill--everybody wants health insurance, but if nobody is willing to pay for it, it won't exist.

We have a system for this--it's called taxation.  Sorry, folks, but, to quote another old saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch."  Either we get a tax reduction, or we get to keep or expand government services, but we can't get both.

Show me the money (which includes a link, under "been there, blogged that," to "Another day older and deeper in debt")

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Machismo 101

Big is good.

Bigger is better.

Biggest is best.

And Trump thinks that building a big wall and a bigger military will make him . . .


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Ta'anit Ester

Since Purim falls on Saturday, right after Shabbat/Sabbath, this year, we observe Ta'anit Ester/the Fast of Esther today, and we'll have to do our online Purim reading in advance or on Purim itself.  So here are some goodies to get you started:

~ A Purim post of mine, with links

~ has a number of Purim posts.

Every year, I go through the same song and dance:  Why should I observe Ta'anit Ester when I'm not convinced that the story told in Megillat Ester ever actually happened?  (My husband calls it "historical fiction.") And every year, I end up with the same answer:  Look, lady, you have to be consistent--if you're going to observe the feast, you have to observe the fast.  (Sigh.)

I hope that all the folks who are observing the fast have an easy one.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Parashat T'rumah, 5777/2017 thoughts. Some construct, others deconstruct

In this Torah reading, we're building.  Check out the linked post and the linked previous ones about the making of the Mishkan (Wilderness Sanctuary).

In this country, we're destroying

- The White House is proposing to slash a quarter of the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, targeting climate-change programs and those designed to prevent air and water pollution like lead contamination. In addition to cutting staffing by 20 percent, Reuters learned some other specifics:
* Grants to states for lead cleanup would be cut 30 percent to $9.8 million.
* Grants to help Native American tribes deal with pollution would be cut 30 percent to $45.8 million.
* An EPA climate protection program on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming would be cut 70 percent to $29 million.
* The brownfields industrial site cleanup program would be cut by 42 percent to $14.7 million.
* Funding for enforcing pollution laws would be cut by 11 percent to $153 million.

As President Trump would say, "Sad."
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