Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Related imageYou know that the efforts to help Puerto Rico has failed when the United States Naval Hospital Ship called Comfort goes to the disaster relief effort in the island of Puerto Rico and is only having 7 hospital beds full while now people are dying from the effects of no food and drinking bad water. After a month with millions of dollars raised to help the people of Puerto Rico what has emerged is corruption and neglect. Who is overseeing the relief effort? Who is in charge? Apparently no one that cares.
Puerto Rico is still suffering after hurricane Maria. The disaster medical teams aren’t even organized meanwhile there seems to be disasters popping up everywhere often. A Doctor, Doctor Khanna quit the Puerto Rico response team called NDMS, the National Disaster Medical System, after witnessing the Trump government’s  mismanagement of the situation. She has been doing disaster relief missions for the past 20 years and is appalled by what nonsense is going on with this failed effort. There was a  Spa Day ORGANIZED by Federal staff for themselves in the middle of the disaster. They used the triage tents that should be used for victims to house spa treatments. They brought in people to give themselves nail treatments and pedicures.
Image result for the medical ship in Puerto Rico
They were getting paid to have spa treatments. The doctor who quit wrote, ”I find this gross misuse of taxpayer funds and abuse of our privileged positions personally abhorrent. Medical personnel responsible for seeing injured and ill Puerto Ricans who have no homes, food or supplies having a “spa day” on taxpayer money. I can no longer serve with honor.” Instead of wearing sterile scrub boots they were wearing flip flops to dry their pedicures in what should have been sterile areas.
People are now dying in Puerto Rico from treatable bacterial infections because of the lack of proper care. Desperate people have been drinking from polluted creeks and streams for water. The huge Naval Hospital Ship is docked in Puerto Rico but is not letting people on board to treat them. The ship has 800 beds and modern equipment to treat just about any illness. Three weeks after the disaster there is only 7 patients on board? Why?
There are 800 medical staff people on board. The ship is even capable to manufacture drinking water. Why isn’t that being distributed? This is an organizational failure not that   the storm is too big a failure anymore. The storm is no longer killing Americans. The Federal response to the storm is now killing Americans. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Co-Ed Scouts?



Image result for cartoon of girls joining the boy scoutsIt is a new era when they allow girls to join the Boy Scouts of America. Well that is going to happen real soon. Last week the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. The Boy Scouts will start admitting girls to its Cub Scout program in 2018 and initiate a separate program for older girls in 2019. Will they still be able to call it the Boy Scouts anymore?


Cub Scout “Dens” are for ages 7-10 and will still remain single gender. The larger Boy Scout “Packs” will have the option of welcoming girls. Critics say this bold move is an attempt to boost the Scouts diminishing membership for both boys and girls. So, being co-ed will make families want to join more? In 2013 there were 2.6 million Boy Scouts. That number has dropped down to 2.35 million members. The Girl Scouts is also facing declining numbers. In 2013 they had 2.3 million members that has now dropped in 2017 to 1.8 million members.
Image result for cartoon of girls joining the boy scouts

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 and remains the largest Scouting organization as well as one of the largest youth development programs in the United States.

They have youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and almost a million volunteers throughout the United States and its territories. It is amazing that the girls want to join the boys. Is it because they don’t want to have to sell those damn box cookies every year? The boys don’t have to do that. They get to go camping, make fires, learn how to make rope knots and build rope bridges. That stuff is cool!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Trump's Un-Do List

Related image
What has Trump accomplished? The only list he has is a un-do-list to erase the Obama Presidency. The Trump Administration has not passed a single piece of legislation. The only thing that did get passed was a bill to impose sanctions on Russia and he didn’t want to sign that. It was pressure from the House and Senate that made him sign it and now he isn’t even enforcing it. He signed it in to law and then let the deadline pass on October 1st   without doing any enforcement of the sanctions. This government is now one big joke and the world knows it.
Trump fails to pass much meaningful legislation after 10 months into his office. He has played golf a lot, he has cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in costs, managed to created millions of dollars in personal profits , has gone on numerous profiting campaign rallies for re-election  and he has alienated most world leaders from everywhere.  Trump supporters should be angry. The main effort has been to un-do things accomplished by President Obama. Trump even had paranoia when he declared the un-truth that Obama wiretapped his home.
President Obama wrote legislation to shield the DACA kids from harsh immigration laws. Trump is stopping that.
President Obama negotiated the Trans Pacific Partnership that was a way to outmaneuver China economically. Trump is stopping that because he has his own branded products being sold and made in China. Yes because of Trump’s personal profiteering.
President Obama had a key role in negotiating the Paris Climate Accord. America urged other countries to follow us in efforts to pursue climate control. Trump made America to be one of the only countries to pull out of that.
President Obama is credited for mobilizing a new relationship with Cuba. Trump is pulling out of Cuba.
President Obama’s clean power plan is now nixed by Trump. Trump instead is doing the complete opposite and   is stopping pollution restrictions on companies.
President Obama’s rule to keep seriously ill people from buying guns is now nixed. Trump is even allowing silencers to be put on automatic weapons sold to just about anyone.
President Obama’s healthcare rule that said that birth control would be covered by insurance is now nixed. It is now harder for women to even protect themselves from rapists.
President Obama’s Flood Protection rule has now been nixed. Meanwhile America is suffering from a flood problem in many states due to hurricanes.
President Obama got a deal between the five members of the United Nation’s Security Council plus Germany and the United Kingdom in a historic deal with Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear program.  Trump doesn’t even understand the deal but is pulling us out of that too.
President Obama got healthcare for all Americans. Even though repeated attempts to find a better solution by the House and   Senate have been continually voted down, Trump recently signed an Executive Order to spend $200 billion dollars to cut health care to all and make it the problem of the states individually to figure out a health care plan for themselves.
Trump has not pursued anything that he can call his own idea or something that he could credit himself for a new thought to actually make America better again. He sells U.S.A. hats for personal profit on his website. Have we ever had a President whose sole purpose in office was to undo a previous President’s accomplishments? NO!  Now we have that with President Trump. SAD



Sunday, October 15, 2017

Apples

Image result for apple varieties
Apple varieties are dwindling. Who cares? We should. Apples represent America and the roots of this country. The care that most citizens put into the growing and preparation of the fruit, represented the growth and care and respect of all.  Go to an apple orchard before the picking season is over. It is the only place you can get a true crisp apple without much pesticides on it. The supermarket apples are altered in that they are very shiny with thick skins and tend to rot from the inside quickly. They also are not as sweet as a fresh picked apple. 
In the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains there are apple orchards in the town of Pinnacle trying to save the integrity of 200 years of work from the settlers here in America. 150 years ago there were 6,000 varieties of apples that were widely grown and now that has dwindled down to a few hundred varieties.  No one seems to care to preserve the varieties.  
It takes care and devotion to maintain a apple tree for decades. Each year it must be carefully pruned in an effort to save old southern apples. Apples are as American as….. you know, Apple Pie. The seeds were brought here by some of the first European settlers. Apples were a critical part of the early American diet. They are hearty, nutritious, delicious and versatile.
They were fried for breakfast as apple fritters. They were stewed for supper. They were dried on the roof tops of their homes so they can have apples in the wintertime. The settlers managed their wealth and took care of the apple seed to fortify them year round.
The variety of apples had distinctive names like Arkansas Black, Gilmore Winesap, Swiss Limbertwig and Paragon to name a few. But as time went on these heirloom varieties started to disappear. Well, you can blame it on the railroads. The Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s. Now the apple could be shipped from distant places. They didn’t need to grow apples to survive anymore. Just like simply putting your money in a bank account in your local main street bank we put our money in funds somewhere in cyber space. 
Over 30 years ago there are farmers that decided to bring back lost apples. They are saving more than 500 varieties. Some of which are the only ones known to exist. But saving these apples are not just about saving history, the taste needs to be savored. Some taste like coconut or pineapple or even raspberries.
Go 60 miles north from Pinnacle, North Carolina to Dugspur Virginia, award winning ciders are being made. The complex flavors of the old types of apples are making an interesting flavor for cider. The main company is Foggy Ridge Cider that is offering the latest edition of an American tradition. Restaurants are now offering gourmet ciders somewhere between the beer and wine lists and the soda and iced tea list.
The gourmet cider industry is the fund that is growing for the apple orchard owners. To find an apple that was thought to be extinct to spend 30 years to grow it and to taste it for the first time is an ultimate experience. Just like all the money people were supposed to be able to enjoy after 30 years of saving their money to be growing and put towards their retirement.
Apples originated in Kazakhstan where they have been evolving for over 4.5 million years just like money that has been around for the same time. Hold on to your money and try to make it grow because it is dwindling and no one is going to jail for loosing it.
 

Let The Music Play

Related image
We need some feel good music and we have that in a body of work that spans 60 years of easy swaying sounds from the good old Isley Brothers. Everything in the news is downright depressing from hurricane disasters to mass shootings followed by threats of nuclear war or the demise of healthcare. Pick any subject and you could probably find something going wrong. Music heals.  The Isley Brothers heal.
You know them because you have heard their song called Shout at every Wedding celebration that gets every drunk who can’t dance out on that dance floor. Or bop and weave to the song called It ‘s Your Thing do what you want to do. Then slow dance to their smooth hit called Between The Sheets or For The Love of You.  You can’t be angry about anything after you hear their stuff. There has to be generations of babies that were conceived while those songs were playing. What other band can you think of that has been on the top of the charts for six decades?
Isley Brothers - Power Of Peace (CD)Ron Isley is now over 75 years old and has been performing since childhood. The key to their success is that they were capable to sing it all and they did. From Gospel to R & B to Country Western and Pop Music. Now there are just Ron and his brother Ernie who are the last remaining group members. Throughout the years they played with the best. At one time they asked then an unknown guitar player Jimmy Hendricks to play with the band.  He played and lived with them for 2 years. The brothers noticed and was in awe of Jimmy’s style of playing using his giant hand to play the guitar frets with 4 fingers while using his thumb to play the lowest thickest G string. Every string  moved simultaneously on his guitar. The brothers had an eye for talent.
In 1962 they released the song called Twist & Shout that inspired a whole new way of dancing and one year later their song became a huge hit for the Beatles. Paul McCartney says that if it wasn’t for that song the Beatles would have probably been an unknown band in England. The Isley Brothers helped to promote the career and talent of the famous guitar player Carlos Santana. Carlos brought to us all that fusion of Latin, African and Pop Music to audiences everywhere with his amazing guitar lead riffs. His wife drummer Cindy Blackman Santana proved that women are great spiders at the drums too. Listen to the new album called the Power of Peace where the Isley Brothers and Santana collaborate. This album has lots of great old songs done now with new arrangements that are refreshing. What could be better than the church song called Let There Be Peace on Earth this time set to a Latin beat? It makes you think of the deported families, the earthquake victims in Mexico and the people of Puerto Rico who just love to dance to their rhythms.
This album is truly a family affair with a wife on drums and other wives doing vocals while their famous husbands do what they do best too. Get lost in the music. You will feel better.

  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Hero to the Stupid

Related image
Trump found a pen in the White House and as usual he used it for no damn good to sign his name to an executive order this time to repeal part of Obamacare. He would try to take away the American court system if he could. Instead of taking parts of healthcare away, why can’t he find a way just to make it cost us all less money? We all want healthcare for all but we need it to be affordable. Trump needs memory medicine because he forgot to sign the document after he thanked himself for the changes. What is wrong with this man?
Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said Mr. Trump’s “irresponsible” executive order “will loosen or eliminate critical consumer protections for certain health insurance plans, driving up the costs of premiums and making it harder for people, especially those with pre-existing conditions, to afford coverage.” The best part about Obamacare is that it offered healthcare to ALL of us, no matter what our illness was. The sickest folks got the most help because they need the most help. Not anymore!
A statement from the American Cancer Society said the order “jeopardizes the ability of millions of cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease from being able to access or afford meaningful health insurance.” How does this help all those coal mining voters that you convinced to vote for you Donald? They all have cancer!
Trump surrounded by top administration officials, business leaders and Senator Rand Paul  the Republican from Kentucky, in the White House Roosevelt Room, praised his own executive order as steps towards repealing and replacing Obama’s health care law. The Republican led Congress hasn’t passed a bill to undo Obamacare so Trump is resorting to his “pen” instead to chip away at the plan that gives us all unconditionally healthcare.
So now if you are really sick just die because you will never be able to afford the treatments and medicine you need to have. Why won’t he get after the insurance companies or the drug companies or the hospitals that are just charging too much money for anything relating   to health care? That is what most Americans are upset about. This order offers no solution just more chaos and fear.
The President began to walk out of the room after congratulating himself as he often does this time without signing the order. Vice-President Mike Pence had to remind   him and usher him back to the desk where he found a pen.
The plan is now a confusing one with many options that you will have to seek to find healthcare. The president’s executive order is intended to make lower-premium plans more widely available. Trump hs long talked about his desire to make health insurance plans available across state lines. His order directs Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to consider expanding access to association health plans, which could possibly allow American employers to form groups across state lines, according to the White House. The order could also allow employers in the same line of work to join together to offer health care to employees, no matter their state.
The president’s order, according to the White House, also directs the Labor Department, Treasury Department, and Health and Human Services Department to consider expanding coverage for short-term, limited duration plans that could be made available to people in specific circumstances, like if a person loses his job or misses the open enrollment deadline. Trump also cut the money that encourages people to sign up for health coverage.
Trump is the hero of the stupid. This executive order is likely to face backlash from medical groups and could very well face legal law suits. His way of fixing things is by throwing the wrong tools into the broken engine that needs help and not more confusion to all.
 Encourage his White House people to use the 25th Amendment to kick this guy out of office and stop reminding him to do what he says he wants to do that is catastrophic to all.


Songs That Say It All

Image result for tom petty 2017Tom Petty has died and we should reflect at what a comfort his songs have been to us throughout the past few decades. Just a week ago he was playing his last show at the Hollywood Bowl during his most successful tour. His life was like any kid who didn’t like sports and couldn’t find himself while growing up in Florida. His father tried to “beat the sissy “ out of him so Tom wrote the song called I Won’t Back Down.

His songs were full of defiance that we all felt growing up. Songs called Don’t Do Me Like That, Don’t Come Around Here No More, You Don’t Know How It Feels, I Don’t Scare Easy, You Don’t Have To Live Like A Refugee, Stop Dragging My Heart Around and the most famous song called,  I Won’t Back Down. His songs spoke for us and still do in this age of protesting all the time about something.

Related image
It is fitting that after 40 years of song writing that he wrote the reflective song on his last album called I Forgive It All. Tom Petty wrote songs for anyone who felt lonely and misunderstood. His message is simple and profound. We will never forget his famous song called I’m Free, Free Fallin’. Listen to his body of work at least for one last time. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

How is your Friday the 13th?


It is Friday the 13th and many have fears of bad luck today. There are many hotels that even eliminate the thirteenth floor. Of course it is still there but the elevator goes from 12 to 14 in their labeling of floors. 

According to expert Tarot readings at PsychicSource.com 13 stands for change. And transformation mostly causes fear for the humans. In Tarot, the thirteenth cards archetype is death. In the Bible, there were 13 present at the Last Supper of Christ before his death.

The Extinguishing of the 13 candle symbolizes the earthly darkness at the death of Christ. 13 is a number of misfortunes, since it is the number of Judas, Jesus and the twelve disciples.

Doesn't it make total sense to allow a simple number to inspire fear and extra caution? Well, no, it doesn't. But our fixation with the number 13 runs deep. Architects frequently omit a 13th floor from their plans. Parties featuring 13 guests give hosts pause and the arrival of a Friday the 13th on the calendar can cause palpable dread and frantic re-scheduling of plans.

Of course, unlucky 13 isn't the only popular superstition that has been clinging, barnacle-like, to the human psyche for decades. We're also beholden to black cats, rabbits' feet, broken mirrors and umbrellas opened indoors. In fact the numbers are in from this past Halloween. Will the number 13 be a large factor in the equation? Let us see.

This past Halloween had a record 190 Million people who said they planned to celebrate Halloween in 2016 that was according to the National Retail Federation Survey. Total Halloween products spending hit a all time high of $10 Billion dollars. That means the average household spent $100 dollars on Halloween products which is up from last year which was about $92 per household. So, we all like to buy creepy stuff? Or are we all so disgusted with something in our lives we just want to do something creepy to someone else for a change?

More than 93% of children went Trick or Treating according to a survey by the National Confectioners Association. Well, I can understand that high number. Where else can you send your kids to get free stuff? Stuff you don’t want to spend any money on, that gooey sugar filled crap that gets stuck in your teeth. Hey, let me check your goody bag Junior! Hmnnnnnnnnnnnn good. Oops!

Chocolate is the favorite treat of 63% of those professional Trick or Treating kids followed by 9% who favor lollipops. Gummy candy is the favorite of 7% who even take their vitamin supplements in the form of Gummy Bears. They are equaled by 7% who favor bubble gum.

As for the adults who handed out the treats, 41% confessed that they ate treats from their own candy bowls so often that at some point they were giving out handfuls’ of coins to the kids once they ran out of candy. That is embarrassing if you have to do that while your teeth still have chocolate on them.

"The number 13 has a number of very old references that tend to be associated with groups of 13 people," explained author and psychology professor Stuart Vyse.

"At the Last Supper in Christian theology, there were 13 dinner guests, so that number is unlucky because Christ was betrayed. ... And in Norse mythology, 12 benevolent gods were gathering in a hall and the evil god Loki attacked the group. Loki was the 13th guest, and the god Balder was killed in the melee."

It also has been  noted that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was quite fearful of the number 13, and he took great pains to avoid hosting a meal for a group of that size. "If he had a cancellation and it looked as if there might be 13 people to lunch, he invited his secretary to join them so there wouldn't be 13," he said.

The fear of the number 13 is so pervasive that it even has a phobia named after it: triskaidekaphobia. Based on this phobia, airlines typically do not have a 13th row, and most tall buildings do not have a 13th floor. Enjoy your day!