The tough decision

Hmm, so it was hard to decide which thing I wanted to talk about today, so I’ll talk about all of them, because in weird way they’re all connected.

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This morning I read in the local paper that our podunk little school district had it’s website hacked by ISIS. Yep, they had a few schools websites taken down and replaced with ISIS propaganda. (It’s up to you if you think other hackers were pretending to be ISIS, or it was actually ISIS.)

And the school district’s response to this? Going to tech support and fixing the page. They didn’t report it to the police as a crime, which it was. They didn’t report it to the NSA, even though it was a terrorist act. And they didn’t do anything to protect all the student’s data. WTF?!

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Parents of these students have no idea how much information was lifted, and the school district doesn’t seem to think there’s any problem. But you cannot access and change a website unless you can get into a server. And if you can get into a server you can get what’s on it and often what that server is connected to, like other government servers. Duh.

When people like this act like that, it makes me despair for democracy. Which brings me to my second topic. The speech the “president” gave in Poland. For starters, it was written by Steve Miller, for those of you that don’t know, he wrote the Muslim Ban 1.0, He’s an avowed white power, alt-right, neo-nazi. He’s Steve Bannon’s right hand guy.

Miller is said to have written the speech given in Poland, before the fake crowds that had to be bussed in so there would be an audience to applaud the delusional US “president.”

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Actual Polish hero of the American Revolution.  Kościuszko wrote a will in 1798 dedicating his American assets to the education and freedom of U.S. slaves. In 1817, the execution of his will later proved difficult and the funds were never used for the purpose he had intended. Quelle suprise.

If you read the text of the entire speech the POTUS gave, you’ll notice there’s a lot of neo-Nazi stuff going on, but what really sticks out, head and shoulders above the rest is that not once does the “president of the US” use the word democracy. Not once.

This has been going on a for awhile, in the GOP, they don’t use the word democracy. They don’t believe in it. But I just want to point out, a president of the USA that can’t support democracy, that’s so afraid of it he can’t even say the word, should not be president.

And that brings me to the mock video of POTUS beating up CNN. 

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The loser in the ring is democracy when a president — who swore to uphold the Constitution of the US — is shown violently beating up the press, because they’re exercising their Constitutional freedom. George Washington is rolling over in his grave.

And speaking of rolling over … the Tour de France had a tough day on the 4th. Mark Cavendish went down hard, and got rolled over by two other bikers. He was out of the race with a broken shoulder. Peter Sagan was then disqualified for endangering riders.

A number of commentators said it was not right to disqualify Sagan. I looked at the video, the judges were right. Stop it at 2:17. You can see Sagan left his line and veered into Cavendish’s and is shoving Cavendish off his bike to get him out of the way.

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Men down! Sagan at fault.

As the commentators said themselves just the day before, “Sagan is the best bike handler in the world.” Given that, Sagan should have known that riding someone into the barricades was wrong. Not only that, there was no reason for it. Sagan had space to his left, he didn’t need to run Cavendish over.

So the decision of the judges was fair. Anyone else, it would have been a mistake or unavoidable. For Sagan, there’s no excuse. He could have avoided the situation.

Since Mark was out of the Tour with injuries, the only way to give Peter a just punishment was to remove him off the Tour as well. I don’t think Sagan was being malicious, I think being the best bike handler in the world, so he decided in that moment to take an extreme risk that didn’t pay off for him  — but did injure 3 other riders, taking 1, and over time possibly more, out of the Tour.

For that, Sagan deserves to sit out the Tour. And he knows this. Sadly his supporters don’t. They’ve been pouring hate on Cavendish. But that’s just ignorance caused by partisanship, much like the Trump supporters who went off on NPR for inciting rebellion by posting a radical document on the 4th of July.

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That document? The Declaration of Independence.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised in a country where, according to an “NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll,” only 77% of residents correctly cited Great Britain as the country from which the United States declared its independence, but nearly one in four, 23%, either mentioned another country, 8%, or were unsure, 15%.

Thirteen other countries were cited as the country from which the United States gained its independence including: France, Mexico, Germany, Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Panama, or Russia. For the record, Panama (1821), Brazil (1822), Mexico (1821), Columbia (1810), and Canada (1867), weren’t even actual independent countries when America became one.

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Happy Birthday, Canada!

Three in ten Americans, 30%, also did not know the year in which the United States declared its independence. Included here are 11% of residents who mention a year other than 1776 and 19% who are unsure.

Education made the biggest difference. Nearly nine in ten Americans with a college education were able to identify Great Britain as the country from which the United States won its liberty. Clearly, Americans need a better education at the basic level, though actual education is not a GOP priority.

One shouldn’t need a college degree to understand the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and sent to Great Britain to declare our nation separate from it. Really, one shouldn’t have graduated primary school without having read the Declaration of Independence.

In fact, here read it.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

This entry was posted on July 6, 2017.

Of Mice and men

It’s an interesting time to be in the US. Basically, there is a “president” and “party” in office that is only there because it felt the only way to power was by engaging in treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors.

This has nothing to do with moderate GOP voters who happen to think budgets should always be balanced, or immigration should always be legal, or the federal govt should be less a factor than state or local govts in people’s lives. As ideas in themselves, there’s nothing wrong with those.

What’s wrong really is simply that when times change and beliefs change, people who once had a chance at power, see that slipping away forever. Instead of growing and changing, they resort to any means to hang on to power. And this is what we’re seeing with the GOP.

Think about the idea of a minimum wage, how heretical that was once. Or a 40 hour work week. Or a business being open on Sunday. Or divorce. Lots of ideas seems revolutionary at first, but in time, if they have value, they become the norm. Today, none of the things I mentioned seem strange.

Someday universal healthcare won’t seem strange. Someday there may be a maximum wage — yes, really. Someday police will choose de-escalation over the race-driven panic and shoot response the prevails now. Times change. The only question is how we change with them.

To be honest, in the eyes of the public, the entire GOP is dead from the neck up. They should all be impeached and imprisoned. But it didn’t have to be that way. They could have grown and changed, they just chose not to.

A stage play of Julius Cesar recently had a Trump-like figure being assassinated. A young woman apparently jumped up on the stage and asked “Do you want to see Trump assassinated?” I think the answer to that was pretty clear.  The play is about how bad things that happen when violence takes over a political system.

But if the entire GOP congress, leadership, and all the White House staffers were down at Mar-a-lago and a sink hole opened up and swallowed them all? I doubt the vast majority of people in the country would be upset. They’d likely be relived. That’s not the fault of the people. That’s the fault of the GOP govt.

That’s what happens when administrations terribly go wrong. That’s what happens when a party decides treason is the best route to power. That gerrymandering, suppressing the vote of people of color, or simply deleting their voter records is the best way to “serve the people.”

You can’t really blame people for not giving a crap about “leaders” who clearly are so corrupt and so greedy that they are completely and totally disinterested in preserving their country against it’s enemies or serving the people who elected them. You just can’t.

The only reason Trump went to Camp David the other weekend, was because he was afraid of being assassinated. After the GOP congressman from Louisiana was shot on the ball field, Trump realized he was in danger. So being the blowhard coward he was, he packed up and went to Camp David to be safe. Even though he’s repeatedly said it’s “too rustic” for him.

Someone asked last night on a news program what to do about a president like this, one so clearly awful. That’s easy.

  • Record every word and action taken. To be used in evidence later.
  • Investigate the administration and the party and their appointees thoroughly.
  • Refute every boneheaded administrative action and law change that happens,.
  • Record legislative actions and law changes because they’ll all need to be reversed in 4 years if they can’t be stopped.
  • Do all in your power locally to protect elections. Reject electronic voting, gerrymandering, voter suppression tactics, etc. Watch the polls.
  • Attend public meetings. Make recordings. Ask questions. Write letters. Talk about what’s happening without getting mad at people even if they get mad at you.
  • Protest, sit in, chant. And never cover your face, only cowards who don’t believe in their actions being just will cover their faces.

As for the personal stuff, the Mika and Morning Joe type stuff, just let it go in one ear and out the other, because focusing on that stuff (all of which is conduct unbecoming and technically an impeachable offense) is missing the real stuff.

Someday people might have to really stand up in way that’s as dramatic as the Viet Nam protests, or the Civil Rights protests. That time is probably coming soon. As reported by The Guardian today the GOP has officially gone off the deep end. Here’s the headline

Portland Republicans to use militia for security as far-right rallies continue

That’s right, the GOP is now walking the path of the NAZI party. Read the article, then read this from wikipedia on the NAZI brown shirts, or storm troopers as they were called.

If you aren’t concerned by this, you should be aware that the Trump administration is littered with self-professed Neo-NAZIs  (alt-right, white supremacists, KKK, take your pick of a name). These are people who have no problem using Hitler’s playbook to gain and keep power.

So when you start having discourse about bad govt, remember what went bad was the govt, not the people. People made a mistake in giving Hitler power. They made a mistake in allowing his power to grow.

I think the real lesson here is not responding to hate with more hate. There’s no reason to hate people that got conned into giving the GOP power. The proper response is de-escalation of that power.

It’s states exercising their rights and saying “No, we aren’t doing that.”  (Which weirdly used to be a GOP things, states’ rights. ) It’s using every legal and social means of cutting off the power of a mad man and his equally mad party. It’s about taking back the power that belongs to the citizens.

It’s citizens protesting, and working for a better govt and running for office.  If the govt isn’t working for the welfare of all the citizens, all citizens a have a right to reject that govt. It’s not about this or that party in office, it’s about everyone in office really doing their best to help the people of the nation.

If all you can think about it your party, you’re missing the point of a nation. As a great Canadian once said, you can vote for white cats, or you can vote for black cats, but you’re still mice. Isn’t it time you voted for a mouse?

What the nation needs isn’t more or different men to give us more or different hateful words and actions. It needs mice. Humble little mice, working together to make the world a micer place for everyone.

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2017.

Midsummer Eve, or life is tricksy

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When fairies dance, things get crazy.

Well, it’s taken awhile to get to this, but rest assured, things have been happening.

Midsummer Eve was the day I ended up having to put down my Gran’s dog.  It cast a pall over the house. But there was still a warm furry wandering about, the large tuxedo cat on which to heap attention. Though she hardly glowed with unconditional love.

The following Sunday dawned all well and good. By afternoon, things were pretty normal. My Gran went to church, I took a nap, and my Mum was sitting in the living room in a recliner eating a muffin off a walker tray table and watching tv.

What could go wrong? About 1 hours later, I walk into the living room to find my mother is not in the recliner where I left her. That was odd. I couldn’t think what happened since she can’t walk and every effort to get her to stand on the one good leg is met with fear and trembling and “I can’t do it.”

I noticed the walker that had been in front of her chair was gone too. So I walked further into the room and looked into the dining room and there she was, sprawled across the floor, wide awake.

She said she was fine. I doubted there. She said she’d got up — on her own, with the help of a walker and walked on her non weight bearing leg — about 30 ft. At which point she decided she was too tired to go on, and she tried to sit down, but lost her grip on the counter, and missed the chair she was trying to sit down on and ended up on the floor.

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Trust me, you don’t have a broken leg. Now let the kitty in, purrrleeez?

My Gran came home as the EMTs arrived. And off we all went again to the hospital ER at 7pm. They did multiple X-rays and CTs. Thankfully nothing was broken, or rebroken.  Although her femur didn’t hurt, she had a giant bruise on the top of her foot, and her proximal tibia, fibia area hurt.

Her Ortho surgeon, Doc Holiday, said no PT for 2 weeks to let things calm down. I’m not sure if he meant her injuries or her nerves. Probably both. At this point, it’s a struggle to raise her lower leg on the leg that had surgery. Kind of a setback for a person who was almost 5 weeks into their recovery and doing great.

You may well ask, what possessed my Mum, who professed to be terrified to get up and stand on even her good let, to get up and walk on her bad one. Two things, as it turns out. One was Norco, it had made her a little loopy and when she woke up from a nap, she didn’t remember she was injured.  At which point, she looked out the glass doors and saw the second thing, the cat.

She thought Gran’s cat wanted inside, and decided to go and let it in because . . . that’s what you do for a cat flopped against a glass door in hot weather, you let it in. Right? Sigh.

In deciding to take my Mum back to Gran’s to do her recovery, I was sure I could keep her from catching fire and falling out of bed. And I did, but she still managed to find a way to fall down and catch fire, so to speak. Was I careless? I don’t think so. It was just … life. And life is tricksy.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2017.

Things I just want to know

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Everything you put on this govt form is for sale to 3rd parties. EVERYTHING.

I have questions. I consume a lot of news, I read widely. I mean WIDELY. I’ve worked with industries that work with voter information. I’ve seen how it’s used and bought and sold and how and who has access to it. But I still have basic questions.

If 39 states were hacked, which states were they? Why won’t you tell me? Are they states Trump won or Clinton won exclusively? If 21 states elections-relates systems were hacked, which ones were they? Why won’t you tell me?

Has anyone asked if any House or Senate races were hacked in the past as “tests”? What about in 2016, were any of those races hacked to give the GOP a majority? What about state-level races? Any of those hacked? What about ballot initiatives? Any of those hacked?

If you know voter rolls were tampered with, isn’t that proof of a botched election? Shouldn’t we be doing it over? Shouldn’t we be using a paper-based system so it’s all traceable and avoid 100% electronic systems?

Data company’s shouldn’t have people’s voting-related information. That’s my opinion. Why do they? Because in each state, the Secretary of State sells your voter information to companies that have a “legitimate” reason to use them. These are companies verifying legal voters names on petitions, for example. This also includes to political parties who are trying to “get out the vote.”

But should anyone besides your county registrar actually have access to any of the information on your Voter Registration Card? Has any voter agree, when they filled out a voter registration card, ever been asked if their state govt could sell their personal confidential information to third parties?

And what about the exposure of all those names and personal information thanks to Trump’s friends at Data Analytics and the RNC? Can we,the voters, now sue our state governments, which sold our information to these folks without our permission, as a violation of right to privacy?

I think we can.

Next time you see someone asking to register you to vote, walk away. Those folks get paid to get your registration. They give those cards to the people that hired them, usually the GOP or the DNC, and they make a copy of your registration and then give the original to your county registrar.


This entry was posted on June 23, 2017.

Austen, Annotated

As I said in an earlier post, I’m now reading Sense & Sensibility. I’ve not read the entire Austen canon, just Emma, but I’ve seen several movie and TV adaptations of her works.

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Most recently Sense & Sensibility, the version 1995 Ang Lee movie version with Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, among many other stellar actors, was on TV.

It is well known that I will watch anything with Alan Rickman in it, so it should come as no surprise that this is a favorite film. But the performances are really exceptional, as are the locations, set decoration, cinematography and assiduous attention to period detail.

When I went to the library to grab a copy of the book (I do prefer actual books on actual paper), they had several version, but the one I chose was one edited and annotated by David M Shapard. I do love annotation, but I have to confess myself a fan of the late 18th century, so it’s hard to find works that I haven’t read or that can teach me something new.

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Nevertheless, the Shapard edition is actually very enlightening. While I do find some definitions a bit “straining at gnats,” and some oversights and mistakes, for the most part the annotations are wholly worthwhile. I do like the maps at the back and all the thought that has gone into the motivations of the characters. All and all, I can recommend it.

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The only true drawback I find is lack of what I might term a feminine view of annotation. Shapard has considered things such as locations and timelines and maps and meanings of words, very straightforward male things to consider, but has utterly missed the a vital concept of the book, which is that it is about women who exist in families and society.

There is not one genealogy anywhere. I find this a glaring oversight that leads to lack of deeper exploration of characters and times. Consider this, Col. Brandon ends up marrying Marianne Dashwood.

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Col. Brandon’s ex-love, has an illegitimate daughter by another man, that in turn has an illegitimate child by Mr Willoughby.  Marianne was courted and left broken-hearted by Mr Willoughby before marrying Brandon.

So explain to me how that works, sitting round the Christmas feast. Brandon, Marianne, his lover’s grandchild, who is the daughter of Willoughby, who is Brandon’s wife’s ex-lover! How very modern, how very scandalous, how very messy families.

They say that Austen isn’t scandalous, but I find the whole novel to be wracked with these sorts of bombshells. I do not doubt lives were like that then, but there’s no discussion of it by the annotator. Not yet at any rate. I reserve the right to update this post.

For another example, take Edward Ferrars. He was engaged to Lucy Steele for 5 years, but fell in love with Elinor Dashwood. Lucy ends up breaking it off to marry Edward’s brother Robert. Edward’s sister is married to Elinor’s half-brother John.

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So again, at Christmas, we have Edward, married to Elinor, sitting down with Lucy, his ex-fiance, now married to his brother Robert, and Edward’s sister, married to Elinor’s brother John, who never approved of Elinor marrying Edward. Talk about awkward.

But on such matters the annotator is silent, at least so far. I am at chapter 18. But I have checked the fine print at the back. There are no genealogies. In a world where breeding and family are everything, the 18th early 19th century world, not including a genealogy, or several, is a real puzzler.

It has been rather slow reading since the weekend. The dog died on Saturday. That was crushing. Then on Sunday evening, my mother, inexplicably, when no one was in the room, suddenly looked out to the back patio where she saw Gran’s cat.

What did she do? Simply got up from her chair and walked — on her non-weight bearing fractured femur — 30 feet to try and let my Gran’s cat in. Only to fall down at the door, and not in the good walk 3,000 miles way, and fracture her foot and hurt her knee (all the same side as the femur fracture.)

We ended up at the ER again, but the femur repair at least did not fail, so they sent her home to Gran’s again a few hours later. Her ortho surgeon saw her yesterday. He was very impressed the surgery stood up to her wandering, but told her to avoid PT for 2 weeks and then start again.

Admittedly it is rather a set back. On the plus side I have learned to skillfully use a Hoyer lift and full body sling. One should never disregard the opportunity to learn new things, even if those things are not, in that moment, things one might wish to learn.

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2017.

Domestic violence

Image result for guns domestic violence statisticsYesterday the GOP baseball team was attacked by a lone gunman — a white, male, senior citizen from the Midwest, Illinois to be exact.

In addition to critically wounding a sitting white male GOP Congressman from Louisiana, his white male aide a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in government, and a white male former GOP staffer turned lobbyist for Tyson Foods were also shot. Additionally, two heroic Capitol police were shot, one man, one woman. They, however, weren’t the gunman’s target, just collateral damage.

On the surface of this, it appears that this was white man on white man violence. But the reality is, this happened because no one cares about violence against women.

You see, there is a long-standing federal law dating back to 1994, that bans people who commit domestic violence from owning guns. The shooter had a 20-year history of domestic violence against multiple foster daughters. How bad was it? One 17-year-old died by setting herself on fire in a car. He threatened another foster daughter’s boyfriends with a rifle, shooting off a round near his head, but still the local police didn’t take away this man’s guns.

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Why was this abusive man allowed to keep his guns? Because the police kept dropping the charges. You know, it’s a family thing. They’re just women he’s beating up and causing to kill themselves. They can work it out.

Why didn’t the State of Illinois bothered to enforce the law to prevent vulnerable young women in foster care from being victims of domestic abuse? Guess they don’t care about them. Not the police, not the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, not anyone.

And so, because of this, an angry old white man was free to own a gun and shoot whomever he wanted. The only difference this time was, instead of targeting the girls in foster care, he chose to target a congressmen. Oh, and the other difference, this time he was shot dead for it.

It’s not domestic violence, it’s violence. Poor girls in foster care should have the same rights and protections under the law as rich male congressmen. If they truly did, this shooting at least would never have happened.

For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.




This entry was posted on June 15, 2017.

3 Weeks Later, Pt 3, Finally … why I pushed the button

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Code Red, people!

The following day, Tuesday, as we were sitting in her room, watching Anger Management, it happened. That deciding factor.

There was a small crash and a loud thud from the room next door. We were in a private room with a TV on, but the thud was loud. The thud was that of a body hitting a tile floor. A sound I’m regettably familiar with.

Another ortho patient had fallen out of bed.

Two seconds later, an alarm went off and lights started flashing. A voice began saying “Code Red” over the PA system. I had no idea what a Code Red was, so I poked my head out because my mother’s room was right in front of the nurses’ station.

I saw the nursing staff scrambling. There were white strobe lights flashing above our door and outside each patient’s room. There were alarms going off, melodic, but insistent.

I asked “Is everything ok?”  The Russian nurse, Tatiana, smiled as she hurried by and replied, “Everything is fine. But go back inside and close the door. So it’s less noisy.” I nodded and did as instructed.

The alarm went on for a few minutes, then stopped. A few minutes latter, I heard a chopper coming in to land on the hospital heliport. Apparently the medivac had come to pick up the ortho patient that fell out of bed . . . and set his room on fire.

Yes, code red, I came to find out via a quick internet search of the hospital, meant something was on fire.

An hour later, the medivac took off, I presume for the region’s best trauma hospital. Ten minutes later, my mom’s surgeon appeared, still in his green scrubs and a hair net. Not Doc Holiday’s usual bedside appearance.

He said he was checking in on her. But I got the feeling he’d been up on floor trying to stabilize the fallen ortho patient who set himself on fire,  and was checking in on her because he was “in the neighborhood.” Two birds, one stone. He’s efficient like that.

It was at that point I thought, I’m probably not the best person to call and ask to handle someone’s care, but I can be trusted to put up bed rails and prevent people from setting themselves alight.

So, I sent a text to my Da, saying I’d look after her. A profusion of thank you texts arrived within seconds. My mother was ecstatic.

Now some of you might be thinking, the sound of a body falling out of bed was the deciding factor. You might be thinking it was a reaction because of what happened to my Grandfather. But you’d be wrong.

Long before my Grandfather hit the floor, many years before, there was another body on another floor.

I was a tweenager, sitting reading a book in the public library. I saw a young mother walk in with her baby in her arm. She stopped about 20 ft away, to talk to the librarian at the information desk.

To free her hands, to get her library card, while talking to a librarian, this young mother put her baby on the highest part of the 4′ high counter top, like a sack of flour. She was eye to eye with her baby.

I saw her put the baby there and thought, “Bad idea.” But I was not it’s mother. I couldn’t scream across the library, “Hey, don’t do that.” I could only sit there.

She expected her infant to stay there. It did not. The child fell, head first, onto a cement tile floor. The fall was unbroken by any scream or attempt to grab the child. The mother was too distracted to see it happen. The librarian was behind a counter and could not reach the baby.

The sound was the most awful thing I’d ever heard. That loud, awful thud of a small body. It echoed through the open metal and cement building. The child shrieked in pain. I knew there’d be brain damage or worse. I thought, 911, get an ambulance rush it to the hospital.

That didn’t happen. The shocked and weeping mother, grabbed her child and hugged it. She desperately tried to pretend it was alright. I couldn’t believe it. She just went on with getting her card back, and then kept trying to comfort her child.

I just sat there, sick. And that was the deciding factor. Not the ortho patient fell in the highly regarded regional trauma center, or my grandfather who fell in skilled nursing, but that little baby, decades ago, falling in a library. That’s what made me say yes to caring for my mother.


This entry was posted on June 14, 2017.