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Greetings and Salutations;
The bees in America have a lot of stresses that are causing them to die off. Needless to say, this is a Bad Thing, because something like 30% of the crops in America and 90% of the wild-flowers are pollinated by these insects. The main focus for the past years has been the way that neonicotinoid pesticides have weakened the bees to the point that they die as they fly out to collect nectar, or, are unable to fight off the parasites and viruses that can infest them. The good news is that the Feds have put a hold on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until further studies can be done. However, there is one factor that has received very little attention, and that is the loss of habitat. One of the great sources of fresh blood for apiaries are the wild bees that congregate out in the woods. Well, the changes in climate and the destruction of forests that have plagued the United States over the past few decades have cut down quite a bit on the number of places that bee colonies can survive and prosper. The White House is quite aware of these issues, and has, recently, released a plan to help deal with some of these, and, with luck, the current loss of hives will slow, and perhaps even reverse. Here is a link to the NPR story dealing with this.
In the spirit of thinking globally, but, acting locally, what can we do to help the bees? I have some suggestions.
If you have an open area (a lawn, or field, for example), plant bee and butterfly friendly wild-flowers in as much of it as you can. Not only will this add beauty to your environment, but, it will provide a source of food for bees and butterflies. I, for one, like Butterfly Weed, but, there are a number of options. Here is an excellent source of information
Note that many of these flowers are perennials and so once you get them started, they will return every year with no effort on your part. Also, they will keep producing blooms for most of the Summer.
Consider adding a small water feature to your yard…say, a fountain, or a waterfall into a rock-filled pond. This will go a long way towards giving the insects an important source of water, and, by running a pump, the water movement will ensure that it will not be a mosquito breeding ground.
If you feel it is necessary to spray pesticides around the outside of your house, try and use “more friendly” ones (the previous link has some suggestions). I, though, would recommend that you consider adding Preying Mantises to the eco-system. They are great little creatures, and do an excellent job of eliminating other insects. They are also self-sustaining
Greetings and Salutations;
A relative posted some questions about the issues of terrorism in the world today, and, I have to say I found them worthy of consideration. So…here are the questions and my responses.
how many Muslims in the world?
Approximately 1.6 Billion
How many Muslims are terrorists?
The last numbers I saw indicated there were roughly 200,000 members of Daesh – Which many Muslims say is NOT Islamic. It would not be out of line to say that up to a Million are radical and have either directly or indirectly taken part in terroristic acts.
How many Christians are in the world?
about 2.2 billion
How many Christians are terrorists?
Not an easy question to answer as there are no easily accessible numbers. However, here is an interesting article that addresses the question –About Terrorist Attacks In America Also, there is this interesting examination of the issue – The bottom line in both articles is that Muslims are responsible for only a small percentage of the terroristic attacks in America. As for the world as a whole….it MIGHT be true that Sunni Muslims do a majority of “terroristic” acts. However, that does kind of depend on what “Terroristic” is. Also, a vast majority of these attacks are against other Muslims, so from America’s standpoint are meaningless.
Do Christians consider Christian terrorists to be true Christians?
What is a “true Christian?” I, for one, who am a moderate in many areas, including faith, do NOT consider the many people who claim to be Christians, but cherry-pick verses from the bible, twist their meaning, and in general ignore Christ’s teaching to push a hate-filled and bigoted agenda to be Christian. In James, it says “Faith, without works, is dead”. Christ also said “By their fruits, ye shall know them”. There are millions of other Christians who share my views, and, so, I would say that a vast majority of Christians would say “no, they are NOT Christian” Of course, there is a spectrum of believe in the bucket “Christians”, and that includes too many Conservatives who would say “yes, they are true Christians, because they are saving the unborn, or opposing same sex marriage, or, fighting the unbelievers, or any other of a long list of rationalizations to excuse the fact that they are sticking with the Old Testament, and NOT following Christ’s message in the New Testament.
Do Muslims consider Muslim terrorists to be true Muslims?
While I cannot provide the supporting quotes, not being Muslim, I tend to believe that there is no significant difference between Christians and Muslims in this area. The comments to the proceeding question apply here too. Now, the ONE difference I can see is that in my opinion the Qu’aran is, essentially, the Old Testament, which is a bloody record of the draconian response to the laws being broken. Islam does not have, or has not adopted, the New Covenant of Christ, as laid out in the New Testament. This, I believe, is one factor in why it seems the fanatics in that group can be so violent and appear to glory in blood. That having been said, one thing that has NOT been reported widely is the fact that tens of thousands of Imams have issued papers condemning the excesses of Daesh. Also, for every Muslim who murders unarmed innocents, there are millions who are loving, tolerant people who just want to take care of their family, and be friends with their neighbors.
Does each group consider the other group’s terrorists as terrorists first or the other group as a primary characteristic?
I cannot speak for the Muslim community, but I suspect that their breakdown of belief is similar to the Christian community. That is…a vast majority look upon the attacks on an individual basis, and realize that they are the actions of one or a few fanatics who are not representative of the group as a whole.
I know for a fact though, that there are too many “Christians” – or CINOs as I call them (Christians In Name Only) who Do believe that if one Muslim is a terrorist…they all are. This ranges from the local garbage man up to candidates for president. This is foolish, hateful and not true, of course. I also find it interesting that these same people are totally blind to the fact that others might look at Christians through the same glasses when a single shooter kills at a Planned Parenthood clinic, or a movie theatre, or an innocent Muslim child is beaten and insulted simply for being a Muslim. It is a sad blindness.
What if any enforcement efforts can each group do to preemptively do to prevent its group of terrorists from terroristic acts?
Again, not an easy question to answer. However, One common thread among all the fanatics who murder innocents is that they ALWAYS have left a long trail of red flags warning of the danger. Their personality changes as the spin up to do the deed, the social network postings, the changes in their daily activity, all are warning signs that something is wrong. We do not like to stick our nose into someone else;s business but, perhaps if friends or family had reached out to them, they could have been stopped before they went over the cliff. Or, as a last resort, the authorities should be notified and those authorities should actually DO something, instead of just blowing it off. If we had a more robust mental health care system, it could be an excellent tool for helping folks get out of their delusions. This could include Clergy who could engage the person, and attempt to clarify their misunderstandings and misinterpretations Be that as it may, this requires a diverse society that is non-judgemental and willing to take tha step of doing something that, up front, may not be appreciated, and may bring some conflict and strife into the life of the person doing the intervention..
How to do that without placing limits on the free expressions of religion, regardless of how nutty that belief system may be?
This is a tightrope, in that it is skirting close to the alligator pit of ignoring the Constitutional protections we benefit from. However, as I pointed out in the previous question, it seems like it could be possible to see when a person is slipping into the trap of fanaticism and homicide, and catch them. Of course, at this point in time, we, as a society have tiny numbers of terrorist attacks. Perhaps we could simply continue as we are…with the cops doing their best to find conspiracies and arresting and charging those involved. We cannot eliminate these attacks, any more than we can ensure that we will never have another airplane crash.
That having been said, there are some changes to society that would, I believe, keep these from happening. a) Our would-be leaders MUST stop using the language of bigotry, hate and violence against those that are different from us. Look, for example at the fiery rhetoric being spewed out by the Right Wing these days! They are condemning ALL Muslims based on the actions of a tiny percentage of them. This has already had negative effects. It has caused a number of people of color who may or may not have been Muslim to be attacked with hate speech and actual, physical injury. It is causing our “leaders” to build walls to keep people from seeking sanctuary in America in their attempts to get away from war and insanely fanatical behavior that is killing them and their families, and destroying their lives. This in spite of the fact that these refugees have been through a rigerous screening process that has found that they have NO connections with terrorist organizations. Too many of us ordinary citizens are attacking people who have done nothing, simply because we have been filled with this delusional hate. There have been several Muslim shopkeepers who have been attacked by psycho white guys. There is the young girl who, a couple of weeks ago, was attacked by several white boys at school, beaten, had her Hajab ripped off, and called a “Sand Nigger” and other racist terms. She is 13 years old! The rot that produces this kind of hate and evil actions need to change.
now….back to the question… We must, as a society, make an effort to interact with, and come to understand the Muslims who are good citizens and who are fine people. By doing this, we can undercut the hateful actions that generate the sort of frustrated fanaticism that leads to these attacks. The people we hate and attack are not the folks that are our neighbors, who we interact with on a regular basis. They are the “Stranger” the person who we can paint as being less than human, and so bei ok to attack and kill.
This is, alas, a complicated issue, with no easy answers. However, we, as a society need to move back towards the sort of tolerance and love that Christ taught, or, our society will be doomed to destruction. As the above links point out, a vast majority of terrorist attacks in America come from people that are NOT Muslim. Becoming a more tolerant society and one that avoids heated rhetoric for moderation will likely cut down on those attacks. A calmer state of mind will also cause the rest of the world to look at us with less concern, wondering if, like a mad dog backed into a corner, we are going to lash out with death and destruction. We are, after all, the ONLY country on Earth that has exploded nuclear weapons on another country. That is the sort of event that, if nothing else, leaves everyone wondering…Will they do it again?
I hope, during this Christmas season, that I can post some positive moments from America, to remind all of us that the bigoted, hateful, racist bastards we appear to be are just a small subset of the population. However, so far, it has been a challenge to find anything. Maybe soon, though.
That having been said. Yesterday evening a particularly annoying bit of news came up. HERE is a link to one of the reports In short, a young girl was attacked and beaten up by bullies on the playground simply because she is Muslim and was wearing the traditional head scarf -the Hijab. They tore the garment from her, and called her ISIS(Daesh). To add to the the shame, the police were called, but,refused to take a report, basicially blowing it off as kids being bad on the playground, rather than a hate-based attack. The school alleges that they are doing an internal investigation and will mete out any required punishment. Frankly, since it appears that the kids that attacked the young girl were white, and male, I suspect that nothing will come of it.
It is my opinion that actions like this are generated by what the kids learn at home, so, I would be inclined to hold the parents responsible for their kid’s actions. Granted kids at that age do not have the social barriers that ensure they will not randomly attack people, but, neither do they act so violently towards another kid. Making fun and teasing, yes, sure. That is NOTHING compared with what happened to this young girl. For all you folks out there supporing the flaming rhetoric of The Donald and other Right-Winger candidates…this is the world you are building. DO you really think that is the world you want to live in? Why is it that all of a sudden, it is OK for us to blame ALL Muslims for the acts of a fanatical few? Should we treat all Christians as psychotics filled with hate because of the actions of the killers who shoot doctors as Woman’s Care clinics? Or by the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church? I think most Americans would say “no”…because it is THEIR ox being gored, not some one elses.
In reading this report, I was reminded of an interview I heard quite some years ago, with an administrator in the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation. He had, in his youth, grown up in a racist household and was a die-hard Skin-Head, and white supremacist. One day,though, when he was in his early 20s, he was at a White Supremecist rally being ranted at about white purity, and how all the Blacks should be sent back to Africa and how racial impurity was destroying America…all the typical nonsense. In between the speeches, though, he was talking to one of his friends, and he asked a very important question – “What would we do if we got our wish? That all the people of color WERE rounded up and deported? Who would we hate THEN?” His friend looked at him and said “Don’t worry man, we will find SOMETHING”. The young man was bright enough to think about this, and he came to the realization that these folks were not fighting to preserve something GOOD. Rather, they were fighting because they HATED people that were different. He also realized that the next group could be blue-eyed people, or left-handed people, or any other group that did not match their definition of “normal”. This flash of insight caused him to change his life path, leaving the Supremacist movement and their hate-filled views, and moving over to join in the hunt for Nazis. It was a most interesting article.
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations…
Today is December 7th, the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that changed America’s life path in too many ways to count. I look at America today, and I see that even in the short 12 months since the last Memoral Day for this event, there have been increasingly radical changes to our society…and few of them, alas, are good. In the political arena, the rhetoric from the Right-wingers is becoming more and more incendiary. Donald Trump, who, I would not have bet a dime on still being in the race, has not only jumped in feet first, but, is the clear leader for the nomination of the GOP. At last poll I saw, he was leading the closest opponent by upwards of 10%. This is disconcerting, as he has been, from day one, the voice of truly radical, fascist and Dictatorial speech. It is amazing to me that he can go out and malign a given social group, and the polls show him jumping up each time. For example, he said, early on this year, that the undocumented workers sneaking into America were mostly criminals – rapists and murderers. UP jumped his rating. He claims that Pres. Obama is doing nothing to secure the border, in spite of the documented fact that the President has deported MORE undocumented aliens than any other president per year, and, he has bumped up the staff of ICE by 30,000 officers. The Donald claimed that he saw video of thousands of Muslims dancing in the streets of New Jersey after the planes hit the World Trade Center on 9/11. This is a known lie. There were, at most EIGHT guys who were arrested for this sort of activity. But, he not only sticks to his lie, he doubles down on it, and claims that it is a huge conspiracy of the News media to hide the films. Fianlly (although I could go on for hours), today, the Donald came out and said that he wanted a total freeze on the movement of ALL Muslims in and out of the U.S. This includes tourists, citizens, etc. It does not matter to The Donald.
I wish I could say that the other 14 candidatates for the GOP were better, but, alas, while none of them are running the huge train wreck that the Donald is, they all are working from a fantasy world that has no contact with reality, and are calling for (and demonizing) other groups. Overall, the GOP which used to stand for CONSERVATIVE attitudes, is moving to the radical Right, and becoming dangerous.
This is the world that the brave men and women died for at Pearl Harbor and during the rest of World War II? I rather think not. They founght and died to preserve America from this sort of attack…the Fifth Column that destroys from within.
In spite of the very dark place that America is in right now in too many areas (and I have not even touched on the increase in documentation about the LEOs injuring and killing civilians that they are either chasing or (in too many cases) have restrained and in custody) Not all is completely ugly. For example, one of the shameful episodes of World War II was the sweeping up and internment of many Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, simply because they were Japanese. They were held in these prison camps for much of the war, and lost everything they had worked for. Well, in the past year, George Takei and others have been instrumental in bringing a play about this situation to Broadway. Titled “Alliance” it looks at one of the families whose life was disrupted by this abrogation of the Constitution. The story is based on George Takei’s famly, so it is quite appropriate for him to be playing a big part in it. This story was ignored completely by hisotrians and textbooks through the 1980s, although I had read about it quite some years before and so was aware of it. Finally, though, with this play, more and more Americans are learning of this obscene act, and hopefully seeing that it is an important warning that we should never let this happen again. It was an ugly chapter in American History (one of many, alas), so it is good that we are exposed to it and learn from it.
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations;
Well, in these dark days of political insanity, bigotry and hate, there is at least ONE small ray of sunshine. NPR has an interesting story about the discovery of a mushroom that may help bees build their immune system and be more successful at surviving the viruses and mites that are killing them off. It is worth the read.
Greetings and Salutations;
The destruction of bee colonies by Nicotinoid based pesticides not only continues, but is spreading through the entire ecosystem of insects. This article about it is short, but worth reading.
Time after time studies have shown that overuse of general pesticides are killing off the bee colonies we love and need, and yet, the companies continue to produce GMO plants that are resistant to these poisons, allowing more and more of the stuff to be sprayed around. I find it pretty hard to find anything intelligent, considerate of the future, or wise about these actions! I am not even going to get into the fact that the trend in “commercial” produce these days is towards an item that looks pretty, and has a long shelf life, but has so little taste it is hardly more than a texture source for the mouth.
Now, though, the toxins are getting so embedded in the environment that they are wiping out other species of bugs too, and, as the article points out, this will have a huge impact on the food chain of various birds and other creatures. It is just too much to express in any way that is readable….and is such poor stewardship of the Earth it is embarrassing.
I used to be fairly sure that an out of control Global Climate change would wipe out humanity. Now, I wonder which suicidal path will get to us first? Will drought caused by climate change wipe out our ability to grow crops and have sustinence? Or will the destruction of the roots of the food chain cause a massive extinction event? The coin is in the air, people! Do we, as a species, what to give into our basic nature of desiring to die and take every living thing we can with us? Or do we grow in wisdom, and, start working to clean up the huge destruction we have caused to the Earth, and live in harmony with it?
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations.
Although it is many, many months until the Presidential Elections, the Right and Left Wingers are hard at it. In this post, I am going to focus on a kind of mind-boggling moment from The Donald. So far, I could fill a goodly sized tome or two with his pronouncements that are so mind-bogglingly out in Left Field that one wonders if he is making a last minute attempt to take over The Daily Show, and bump Trevor!
A few days ago, in one of the media events he so loves, he was talking about how undocumented immigrants were taking over the country, stealing jobs from Americans, and generally raising the crime rate. It was part of his usual rant about building a huge fence along the Mexican border, to keep the scruffy ones out. Well, this time, he ramped things up a bit. Along with his usual rant about collecting and deporting every undocumented immigrant in America, he went off on the “problem” of these pregnant, Mexican mothers sitting on the border until they are just about to deliver, then, running into America to have their child so the kid will gain “Birth right” citizenship. He specifically believes that they should NOT get that citizenship, and in any case, he would deport the entire family back to where they came from – Ignoring any citizenship issues. I could go on about how nuts this plan is, just from a logistics standpoint, but, I am more interested in the Birth Right issue right now.
For those of us who are not Constitutional scholars, or, were unable to stay awake in American History when the Constitution was studied…the concept of “Birth Right” citizenship comes from the 14th Amendment. I will include a verbatim copy of it later on, but, right now, will say that it states, in fairly clear terms that “all people” born inside the borders of the country are automatically citizens of the United States. Well, The Donald went on to say that he had talked with a number of very good Constitutional Lawyers who were of the opinion that this clause ONLY applied to the freed slaves, and had nothing to do with anyone else. Sadly, he has yet to give us the name of even one Constitutional scholar who is willing to say this! So, since he has decided that this clause of a Constitutional Amendment is unconstitutional, he intends to ignore it, and claim that children born of undocumented immigrants are NOT citizens of the USA, but only hold citizenship in their parent’s country. Now by doing this he removes ANY legal barriers that might keep him from tossing the entire family on to transport back to their country of origin.
Needless to say, this has generated quite a furor online. Among the educated, and the Liberals, it has produced much laughter and many humorous remarks. Among the Right-Wingers, it has produced a lot of comments that seem to revolve around the ideas that they love The Donald because he is someone willing to stand up to the establishment, and, hoping that he gets elected so “we can get our country back”. By the by, I have asked a number of times what exactly this means, and have gotten NO answers yet.
Well, earlier today, I decided that I would hop on it myself for a bit…so I spent some time on Facebook, teaching Pigs to Sing. In thiscase, there was a lengthy thread started by an admiring post thatsaid how wonderful the Donald was for finally, accuratelyinterpreting the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Ofcourse, this is total nonsense, and simply demonstrates the ignoranceof the Right-Wingers. I had the following exchange thatdemonstrates my thesis fairly well, I think:
DaveMundt Hum…the Donald seems to have some difficulty with English. I do not see ANY language in the 14th Amendment that says the Birth Right clause applies only to Negroes. As a matter of fact the first two words of the Amendment are “All persons” which seems pretty inclusive to me. Perhaps his problem is akin to dyslexia, except he has some wiring in his brain that simply pulls up random words and inserts them into the text he is trying to read. In any case, Although this is the “Boogie Man” Issue of the Right-Wingers and has been so for decades, I believe it is hardly the most important issue in today’s world. I really find it difficult to believe that any other nation is attempting to overthrow the United States by creating citizens that will have a legal right to be here!
Oh yes…as for the point about other nations and their procedure for naturalizing immigrants….Not only is it far easier to get a residency permit up front for most of the civilized nations in the world, but, the path to becoming a citizen takes a few years….not the up to 25 years it can take for obtaining US citizenship.
Like· Reply · 2 hrs · Edited
RR Then you have a liberal edited copy of Constitution, for it says former slaves. The 14th amendment did not even include Native Americans. Trump is right exclusively for former slaves.
Like· 1 · 2 hrs
DaveMundt Mr. RR —Here is the copy I was looking at – http://www.archives.gov/…/constitution_amendments_11-27… To the best of my knowledge, the National Archives has no political bias. If you wish to claim otherwise…you MUST provide verifiable references to prove it.
That having been said – You are factually correct that the Native Americans wereexcluded from this Amendment. However, that was for the purposes of determining the number ofRepresentatives a state would have. It had nothing to do with the Birth Right issue. However, do you have ANY Clue why Native Americans were mentioned in this Amendment? Let me explain – Native Americans have a special status in the United States. They were considered a separate nation ( a status that continues until today). Here is a short discussion of the issue. http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/617 This, by the by was eventually modified so Native Americans now are, essentially, holding dual citizenship (Per the 14th Amendment…) as members of their tribes, and as US citizens. As regards the Reservations, here is the authoritative word – http://www.bia.gov/FAQs/
I am quite willing to cede that the intent of the Founding Fathers was to modify and remove the 3/5th designation of humanity that the ex-slaves had at the time. However, I argue that the Founding Fathers were looking PAST that specific use – hence the “All Persons” lead into the Amendment. Add to that the fact that there is NO language that makes the birth right section of the Amendment specific to ex-slaves or other people of color and I can see no logical explanation other than the Amendment was intended to do exactly what it says….grant citizenship to ANY child born within the borders of the United States.
Hereis the Amendment in question…
Passedby Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
Note:Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Representativess hall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-Presidentof the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation there in shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.
Because The Donald is such a great side show, he is currently leading the pack of the 17 that want to be the Republican candidate for President. This has generated a huge amount of attention for him, of course, but, the worrisome thing is that several other wannabes are making a strong effort to jump on the “Trump Bandwagon” in order to get some of that adulation for themselves. At least four or five of the potentials have already come out and strongly supported The Donald’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment, and said that if THEY are elected they will implement the same sort of deportation policies that The Donald is promising. It does not, in my view, speak well towards either their education, their intellectual abilities, or, their trustworthiness to fulfill the demands of the office and live up to the oath they would take IF they were able to get elected.
As with most Amendments, the 14th one covers several topics, and so is likely to be confusing to those with limited reading skills and comprehension (and yes…I know I am being snarky here). However, to simply pick and choose lines from the Amendment, in order to push one’s agenda is just as childish, and foolish as picking individual Bible Verses out to prove a point. One has to take either the whole thing or none of it. This misuse of the basic document that defines us as a country and a society makes me fear for the long-term survival of America.
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations;
Last night was a kind of milestone in television, in my opinion. While most of the evening was unremarkable, the juxtaposition of the two Republican”debates” with Jon Stewart’s last day as host of The Daily Show turned it into a stellar moment.
First off,there were the sound bite shows that passed for a debate between the Republican candidate wannabes. As I am sure everyone knows, Fox News decided that, since there were 17 contenders for the candidate’s position, the best course of action was to split the field into two parts. Based on polling results, the seven lowest rated candidates were relegated to the earlier show (which has been named “The Kid’sTable”). I alas, did not watch that debate, as sleep claimed me while it was on. However, from reports of the content, it seems there was nothing surprising there. Then, at the “Adult table” debate at 21:00 the remaining 10 folks gathered in a lengthy arc across the stage. Donald Trump was in the center (of course), with the rest of the group arranged in order of decreasing poll results out to the end. Fox had three of its anchors taking turns asking questions of the candidates, and,frankly, while they were fairly softball in their treatment of the speakers, there were some rather interesting moments during the show. More on that later.
One of the major factors that undercut this event as a debate was the fact that there were ten people on the stage, and only two hours to talk to them. This meant that each person had 60 seconds to answer a question, and, 30 seconds for a rebuttal if necessary. That is not a debate, as it allows for NO complex or nuanced examination ofa given subject. So…nothing but quick sound bites for the news programs. This format also made it difficult for the moderators to call the candidates on it when they wandered off topic and did not answer the question they were asked, but, made other talking points.
In spite of those weaknesses in the format, there were some interesting moments. Donald Trump was called out on his hateful attitude towards woman and his contemptuous language towards them (ranging from calling them stupid, to bodyshaming). Trump, in both his language, and his defense of his hateful attitudes, is interesting. First off, he jumped in and said that he only said these things about Rosie O’Donnell. While it is true that he has had quite a feud going on with Ms. O’Donnell, as the anchor pointed out, his hateful comments have been used against a number of women who have opposed him. Then, he went on to say that when he was being abusive, it was all in good fun, and folks were just joking around and such. As I was listening to that nonsense, I was reminded of at least one client I had for many years. He had exactly the same, cocky attitude (but not the money). He would happily denegrate everyone around him, treat them like trained apes in a zoo, and if called on it, would be totally puzzled. He even said to me one time that “he only gave me a hard time because he thought of me as one of the family”. Considering the train wreck that hsi family was, I can see how that might have been true. In any case, the bottom line is that abuse is abuse, and there is no call for it, and no way that anyone can or should be proud of engaging in it. Trump’s attitudes that this sort of behavior is ok shows that he has a level of hubris that should automatically disqualify him for the presidency.
Jeb Bush was kind of tentative in his statements, as I think he was trying to walk a tightrope of having a point of view,and yet not getting into it with Trump, or offending the special interest groups in the Republican Party. Christy was his typical, abrasive self, and played fast and loose with a number of statistics about his governorship (as of course, did various of the other speakers). Speaking of which, as expected, the entire two hours were packed with lies, partial truths, and agenda pushing spin. I was actually kind of surprised by the fact that I heard a few verifiable, true facts sneak though. Apparently accidents happen! Overall, I have to say that it was interesting enough to keep my attention for the two hours, and almost as amusing as the hour long tribute to Jon Stewart that followed it.
Tonight’sepisode of The Daily Show was an hour long, and, although there were a couple of efforts to stick to the usual format of mocking the insanity of the political and social scenes, it just did not happen. Pretty much it was an hour-long love fest of people doing cameo roles to let Stewart know what a great person and what a great force for good he has been for the last sixteen plus years. I am pretty sure that every on-air personality that ever was on the show made an appearance, and had an amusing interaction with Jon. There were even some very amusing clips of a variety of politicians and businessmen who he had zinged pretty well coming on and saying a cheerful “good riddance!” Perhaps the best moment, though, was when Steve Colbert went off script at the end of the show, and gave a lengthy and heart-felt tribute to Jon that pointed out that he had done great things in his time on the show, not only in his pointing out the insane moments of the world, but, by helping many others into the industry, and teaching them how to seek and achieve excellence in there work. It is well worth searching this tribute out on YouTube, and watching it, both because of the raw honesty of it, and, the fact that it is so hard for Jon to take that it looks like he wants to make a run for it to get away from the love. In contrast with the “debate” that proceeded it, there was nothing but truth spoken in this hour, and in such a way that it balanced out many hours of the evil and untruths that infest the broadcast waves most of the time.
I was watching the Daily Show pre-Jon, and I had some doubts when he first came on as the new host. However, he grew into the post, and became a true and amazing force for good. He deserves his time at the farm with his family…so thanks Jon, and do not be a stranger!
Greetings and Salutations;
I am writing this in commemoration of the 70 year anniversary of bombing of Hiroshima during World War 2. There are images here that are hard to view, but, are part of our heritage, so, should be faced.
America is, so far, the only country in the world to have actually used Atomic Weapons against another population. I can only pray that this remains true forever. There are just some things that we, as humans should not do, and, I believe that perverting Atomic energy to kill is one of them that is WAY up the list. Over the years, there have been many debates about the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are people who passionately defend the action, and others who are just as emotional about pushing that it was a terrible mistake and should never have been done. While these are valid arguments, I am not going to address them here. THe fact of the matter is that in July of 1945, a group of men sat around a table and decided that it was the best course of action to drop the bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That and the events that followed cannot be changed, so all we can do is look at the reality of history, and decide…do we want to do this again?
When the Enola Gay dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima, and it reached its set altitiude, it detonated, and in less time than it takes a heart to beat, 70,000 people vanished in a flash of light. They were vaporised by the heat and shock wave produced by the blast. Most of the city was destroyed – buildings flattened as if they were built of cardboard. The people that were killed instantly were, argueably the lucky ones. The survivors were left with terrible injuries from the blast and radiation, and over the next few weeks another 70,000 or more died from those injuries.
There are many, many more pict4uresof the results of this bombing, and, while they are a challenge to view, it is important that we look at them, and, as I have said before, decide…what kind of society do we want to have, and what kind of society do we want to promote in the world? Recently, President Obama has, along with five other countries, has successfully created a treaty with Iran to help keep the proliferation of nuclear weapons from invading that country. It shocks me to see that there are Right-Winger politicians in this country that are vehemently against this treaty, claiming that it could be “better”. THe members of Congress are threatening to veto the treaty, in spite of the facts that it will still happen, even if America is not part of it, and, it is the BEST deal so far to keep the focus of Iran on the peaceful use of atomic energy. I hope that these people realize that, by fighting against treaties like this, they are voting for Hiroshima to happen again…and this time it might well be in OUR back yard. Is this what they want? I pray that this is not what is on their mind, and, that their eyes will be opened to the reality of not keeping the world as weapon free as is possible.
Bee Man Dave
Are These Equivalent?
*** Warning! What follows includes factual data, personal opinions and some painting with a broad brush ***
….. I keep finding interesting topics to mediate on as I crawl around the intricate weave of the Net. This time, the discussion that caught my eye was one between a woman from Ireland and a number of folks scattered around the USA. She had the very apt question of “Can someone explain to me why none of the politicians in America give a shit about the working class?” This, alas, is one of those apparently simple questions that turns out to have many facets and complications that keep it from having a simple answer. That of course, makes it worth further consideration, in MY book! Needless to say, the question brought up a number of answers, all good, and all looking at different aspects of the issues in America that have put the 99% into a waterslide to poverty. I found my answer was getting long enough that I thought it would be worthwhile here, too, so, let us dive into it….
…..One of the issues brought up was the concept of the (misnamed) “Right to Work” laws that so many states have. The OP made the point that these, in spite of the name, were NOT giving workers any power. I, as a resident of a “right to work” state, certainly agree that this law is a horrid thing for the workers. We called it the “Right to be fired on a whim” law, with little actual humor to it. The fact is that it gives the employer to dismiss an employee with no cause or explanation. Granted most companies do gather a “screw up list” when they want to get rid of someone, to cover themselves in case the ex-employee decides to sue for wrongful termination. However, that does not need to happen, and the simple fact is that these laws remove much of the security an employee might feel when they do get a job. What security is there if your supervisor/manager can walk in tomorrow and say “you are fired….these men will escort you to the door?” Well…while the roots of this are a complicated story that I may take up later, in short, the Taft–Hartley Act, signed into law in 1947, was created, basically, to ensure that a worker could go into a company, and be free NOT to join the Union. This was a strong attempt by the government and business to break the backs of the unions, which for the past 20+ years had pushed through many changes to business practices that were good for the workers but not so good for the upper level managers and owners. It was the opinion of these bodies that the unions had grown too big and too powerful, so had to be broken up a bit. The management did not like such things as strikes, the inability to terminate employees at will, and the fact that a union negotiation almost always produced higher wages and benefits for the workers.
…..Another issue raised was the idea that regulations and taxes were hurting small businesses and hounding them out of business, and even impacting the decisions of larger companies to outsource their jobs to foreign countries. First off, I had to disagree, in general, with the condemnation of regulations controlling business in America The regulations on various industries were implemented because, before those regulations existed, businesses would pull all kinds of tricks to make more money off the consumer, by creating a cheaper product.
- One abuse that has been around for hundreds of years is adulterating food with cheaper fillers to increase profit. the earliest examples were the millers grinding flour. They would dilute the wheat flour with gypsum dust or marble dust, which they could get for next to nothing. This would not kill a person eating the products made from the flour. It DID increase their profit margin quite a bit. It also lowered the quality of the bread baked from that flour. That is a big reason we have the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with ensuring that foods we eat and the medicines we take are more or less what they claim to be, and that they will (at least) not harm us.
- Another example of the need for regulations and inspections that spring to mind (and is a hot button for many) is the ACA. One of the reasons for the ACA being created and put into law was to regulate the insurance industry and keep it from the many abuses they would inflict on their customers, all in the name of higher profits. Before the ACA, the Insurance companies could write policies that covered NOTHING; so the monthly premium was essentially pure profit. They would refuse coverage to individuals for random reasons, most of which seemed centered around the fact that these people MIGHT force them to pay out some of that cash they were collecting. They were able to put arbitrary caps on how much would be paid out for a given disease, or policy. If you happened to have a situation where they DID have to pay out any cash, you could see your premiums doubling or more a couple of months later. Finally. they could refuse to cover a problem because of a “preexisting condition” – even if that condition had NOTHING to do with the current problem. There are many examples documenting these abuses available with a simple Net Search.
- Before the Wage and Hour regulations, and the regulations calling for a safer work place were created, it was a buyer’s market as regards businesses and workers. There was nothing to stop a business from paying low wages, and requiring the workers to labor in a hazardous environment without protection. For example, I was looking at a History Channel program talking about tower cranes and how they had made it much easier to build the amazingly tall structures that dot the landscape. As a part of the program, there were a number of old photographs like this one:
Note, please, the fact that these guys have no safety equipment at all. No hard hats, no safety lines, no ear protection, nothing. They are also WAY up in the air!(Thanks, to the fine folks here: shangralafamilyfun for their allowing the use of this image. I recommend visiting their site, as it has a lot of interesting pictures, facts, and thoughts on it!)
….. Not only was this the norm for iron workers, but, there and in other industries, there was no such thing as guards on the moving parts of machines. It was but the work of a moment for a worker to get sucked into a moving pully/belt system, or large gears, to be maimed or killed. Regulations forced businesses to create a safer environment for their workers, so injuries dropped dramatically. Another abuse that should have ended was the habit of dumping sick or injured employees, even if their problems came from the job, so the business would not be liable for paying any of the employee’s expenses.
…..Now, that having been said, one factor that is ignored by the antitax and anti-Regulation crowd is that, at least in America, there are many ways to escape the burden of taxes and regulations. For example, tax rates vary according to the net profit of a business. this allows the LARGE companies, who employ tax experts by the dozen, to make use of the tens of thousands of loopholes and twists in the tax laws. This ends up with too many businesses paying NO taxes at all. Now, I ran a one-person consulting firm for many years. The net was too small for Federal attention, but, I did have to deal with the State boys. Overall, as I recall, the total taxes I had to pay on the Net earnings were in the 7% to 9% range. It was a small hassle and not enough of a difficulty to complain about. As for regulations, I and many other small businesses (which, I believe are still defined as those with 50 employees or less) are often exempt from many of the complex regulations that apply to larger companies. There are, of course inequities in the system – it is after all a human creation – but, in general it is a small challenge and not one that typically would put a small business out of business.
…..Another issue that is touched on in the original replies, but not to any detail, was one that I think is very important. because it affects ALL parts of the economy. That issue is the economic gap between classes of Americans that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 30+ years. This shift in economic blessings has produced a very small, upper class that has a net worth of anywere from hundreds of millions of US$, to a top number of US$40 BILLION or more. There is nothing inherently wrong with being very rich…although it can easily lead to a dangerous path. In this case, too many of the 1%ers who fall into this category are almost totally insulated from the 99% of the rest of the citizenry. This leaves these ultra-rich folks almost totally clueless about what the lives of the other 99% of Americans are like. I hear folks who either are in the upper income brackets (or want to be there) saying really stupid things – like – “we need to cut government aid because it ruins the desire of the recipients to work. They would rather just be parasites, getting a free handout” Or, “What? They are saying they cannot find work in their area? Well, then, they should just pack up and move to where the jobs are”. Or “If we try to redistribute the wealth to the lower classes through higher taxation of the rich, it will destroy the economy, because it is the rich that are the Job Creators”. Or (perhaps the worst of all) “you workers do not want the union to come in! they will just take a big chunk of your paycheck, live the high life, and will not do you a bIt of good”.
….To rebut these statements with some reality…
- A vast majority of the people in America who receive government aid are not freeloaders, sitting at home, eating chips, pumping out children and watching Soap Operas on the television. No. They are actually hard working people working full time jobs for wages that are too low to allow them to work, AND pay their bills; They often cannot stay far enough ahead to even THINK about having a savings account, or escape from the drowning pit of renting that sucks huge percentages of their income away every month. So…because of these terrible wages, and the annoying tricks that employers go through to ensure that they will not have to pay workers decently, or provide benefits touted by the company when trying to hire, these good people are forced to go in and apply for EBT (Food Samps), Medicare/Medicaid, etc. Every day they pray that their car will run until tomorrow, because they can neither afford to get a new one, or often, the repairs to get the vehicle back on the road. Now there are some folks who work the system, but, that is a tiny percentage of the total number of American Citizens helped out by these programs. Cutting the programs will not motivate those folks to go to work and it is a delusional belief that it will. The people that work the system now will simply find other ways to work it, and perhaps to scam other people.
- About that “Free Handout” part….That, too, is foolish because there is no state out there that allows a person to simply walk in, fill out a form, and get a debit card filled with “free” money to spend as they wish. There are a large number of Department of Human Services workers who spend their days checking up on clients, to make sure that they are going to school or work registration as they agreed to do when they got into the program. The systems, in general, require the clients to constantly update their employment and earnings status, with the risk that if they fail to do this, they will be cut off. Finally, a change a few years ago to the aid system ensures that NO citizen can receive aid for more than 5 years…this is a life time limit, and, is a Federal law, so it spans ALL states. Five years of tiny payments is not something that one can live on comfortably.
- About that “moving to the jobs” idea. While it is technically true, it demonstrates the lack of understanding on the part of the well off about the lives of the 99%ers. Moving is a complicated and expensive process. Unless a person lives out of a suitcase already, there is significant expense involved in getting the possessions they own packed up and moved to a new city, along with the expenses of moving their family. There is the factor that once IN the new city, unless the person already has a job lined up, there is the problem of getting enough money to survive until the new job appears. While it may not be a huge monitary hit, the chaos and disruption of ones support community when one moves away is enormous. It can add to the stresses of the move, causing an increase in poor decisions. It can impact one’s kids quite a bit, as they not only have to walk away from their comfortable surroundings and friends, but, they are dropped into a very different place…the learning curve to deal with the new society can be pretty steep, and it can affect the ability of the kids to absorb the lessons they need to have to survive in today’s society. This will put them behiind. there is much truth in the observation that once one slips behind in society, it can become harder and harder to catch up to where one used to be.
- The claim that wealth redistribution will hurt the economy because the Rich are the job creators has not been particularly true for many years now. It was true that many years ago, when the Ultra-Rich of the day were gathering money, it might have been a problem. However, a large discrepancy between those days and today is that in THOSE days, the “robber barons” understood that it was vital to pump a lot of their profits back into the company. this may have cut the ratio of the earnings down to 50 to 1, but, it did ensure that the workers not only had enough cash to be healthy and reasonably happy, but, it slowly created a strong Middle Class that was able to purchase more of the “luxury” items that are denied to the poor. More customers, more of a market, more cash flowing in. It is not a complicated system, in general. However today, the story is quite different. While it is a little hard to tell, the last numbers I saw indicated that the ratio of the salaries between the lowest and highest paid jobs in America, is closer to 2000 to 1. In addition, much of the money is not being fed back into the company. Rather it is going into investment accounts of stock holders, high end management. Much of those proceeds end up in private, secret accounts in the Cayman Islands and other countries that really do not care about anything but getting hold of those billions. Some of it goes to purchase more, and bigger, yachts, and bigger and “better” houses around the world. The real job creators in today’s America are the small businesses created by foolishly optimistic entrepreneurs who start with one or two partners and build from there. The rich, other than the fact that once a company gets some size and success, start circling it like hungry sharks, trying to purchase it, have NOTHING to do with this.
- Finally, there is the Union issue. I have to say that in the past 20 years or so, the unions have, alas, become less of an advocate for the workers, and more of a bureaucracy bent on perpetuating itself and making as much money for as little effort as possible. However, in spite of that I believe that Unions are hated by, fought against and legislated against mainly because Management knows that Unions give power to the workers, and allow them to force changes in the company that will cut the money going to the top levels, but, will improve the lot of the workers. This not only means an increase in wages and benefits, but, making it harder for the companies to fire employees at will…thereby adding job security. Yes…it is true that if one goes into a union shop, there is a fair amount of pressure to join the union. that has annoyed Americans no end since the creation of “union shops”. it is not so much that the dues are a huge percentage of their paychecks (although that is an issue at times), but rather, there is the “surly teenager” attitude of over-reacting when someone tries to push us into something, even if it is a good thing.
…..Speaking to the last point a bit more: That reaction, I believe, comes partly from the fact that – on an overall time scale of civilizations on Earth – America and its Representative Republic form of government is more like a 8 year old child , than even a “teenager”. We have been around as an entity for less than 300 years. This is a babe in arms compared to the other civilizations that reach back several thousand years into history. As a matter of fact, it amuses me to point out that not only is the USA younger than a lot of outhouses in England, but, New College at Oxford was about 113 years old when Columbus and his raiders discovered the Continent. (New College, founded in 1379, 1490s for Columbus).
…..having dealt with that digression; I know America has some serious flaws in its economic structure. Flaws that have gotten worse over the years. I do not have any real answers, alas (which being a “fixer”, does kind of annoy me). However, I have come to believe that one of the only ways that the economy will improve for the workers is for the Unions to regroup, and go back to their roots of the 1920s and 1930s. They need to stop snuggling up to Management and Government, and, start fighting for ALL workers, not just the ones that still pay their dues. It is my opinion that over the past 30 to 40 years, the unions have become fat and happy, getting a fair income from their remaining members, and often doing NOTHING significant to help those workers. By going back to their roots, they not only could help the workers, but, would likely find their membership increasing. People are willing to support an organization that is on their side and fighting for them, after all.
…..As part of this resurgence, we need more folks like John L Lewis, Samuel Gompers and Walter Reuther to get into the union leadership and re-invigorate it. They certainly had their weaknesses, and faults, but, every day they woke up with the desire to use the Union’s strength to improve the lot of the workers. We also need artists like Bruce “Utah” Phillips, Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger, and many othertalented writers and performers to write pro-union songs to explain why the Union is better than NO Union, and to mock the evil tht companies do. Once the songs are written and performed, both the old songs and the new should be put back in the public eye. On the positive side, with the universality of Net access, and the large number of Social Networking sites, Video sites, and web pages, it should be much easier to do this.
…..Now, do I think this will “fix” the problem? Well, frankly, I do not know. However, I do believe this change would be a positive thing for the workers of America. It is not going to fix the problem on its own (Even as removing the Confederate Flag from Governmental buildings and public grounds will solve the terrible problem of racism in America – which is yet ANOTHER blog post)…but I do believe that it would be a step in a positive direction — A direction that would return some respect and adequate wages to the millions of Americans who are struggling from day to day to feed their families, keep a roof over their head, buy the wide variety of products (from medicines to appliences) that are needed to live in today’s world.. It took decades, after the rise of the Unions to correct many of the abuses inflicted on the workers. It has taken decades for that progress to erode away. However it CAN, with work and courage, happen again, and it SHOULD happen again…
…..Well, I am sure that if you are still with me, you are starting to say “so WHAT the Hell does this have to do with bees? For me, it is a comparison (simplistic I know) of the two societies – in no particular order:
|For The Society of Bees||
For the Society of Humans.
|…..As most folks know, bees have a very complicated, social structure However, the social pyramid they form is focused on ONE thing, that is the protection of, and growth of, the Hive.||…..Within this society, the individual members are often focused more on enriching themselves as individuals The problem is that this means that Our Hive, the Earth, is being destroyed by the few for their benefit.|
|The colony tends to be ruthless. When the queen begins to fail to lay enough good eggs to sustain the colony, she is killed or exiled. A new Queen is created to take her place. In the winter when the Drones (the only male bees in the hive) are no longer needed to impregnate a new queen, they are exiled, to die outside the colony.||…..Within the Human community, there is a much fuzzier concept of building a good community and much less inclination to fix problems. We, even today, re-elect 95% plus of the local, state and Federal representatives that hold sway over us. This, in spite of egregious lying, abuse of power and creating legislation that discriminates and hurts many Citizens. I would call for Voters to be a bit more ruthless, and do NOT re-elect the person in the office just because they are there. Follow the exmple of the Bees, and, if that representative is not creating good for the whole society, replace them with someone who will!|
|The Bees are, essentially, one organism, in that each individual bee is able to do almost nothing. However, in concert, as an organism of 20,000 to 40,000 cells, the bee civilization can do mighty things.||While it is normal for humans to band together in tribes and teams and such, very often they do not perform to the optimal level because of their individuality and insistance on maintaining it. Think of the last time your favorite team got wholloped by a much less talented team. Why did that happen? 10-1 odds it was because YOUR team was a bunch of individuals, each jockeying for their moment of glory. The OTHER team was a group that had submerged their individual desires, and created a gestalt where in, like the Bees, all the members worked for the common goal, ignoring personal glory..|
….I am not, by any means advocating that bees are “perfect” in their society. Nor am I saying that we, as humans, should suppress our individuality and become part of a Hive organism. While there are societies that do that in a fairly succesful way (Japan comes to mind), In most cases it is a process doomed to failure. However, that having been said, I also think that workers SHOULD take some examples of the bees and incorporate facets of that into their lives. For example, Join the Union, and work to be a part of its push for better money, job security and working conditions. Like the bees, if your leadership is not producing results, band together to get rid of it and replace it with a new, fresh leadership. As individuals, it is very hard to change reality. Take the Pyramids for example. Each of the stones stacked up to create them weighed tons. It would be essentially impossible for a single person to move those stones up the structure and get them set in place. However, get a real team of a couple or three hundred workers together, and the task becomes possible…perhaps even easy.
Thinking of bees, and humanity and such puts me into mind of one of my favorite activists/folksinger/songwriter/all around interesting fellows – Pete Seeger. I believe he sums up much of that I have been ranting about for some time now in his wonderful song “Step By Step”. I have to recommend him as a good voice to add to one’s collection…
Greetings and Salutations!
Boy, time flies….I am apologetic for the slow updates, but, between struggling with some health issues, and, my CDO need to make sure that every post on Facebook is truthful, There are only so many minutes in the day.
I am sorry to record here that America appears to be at a social cusp, where the two major issues of Bigotry, and Gun Control are causing much stress and strain. I cannot deal with the first issue here, as that is a HUGE topic. However, I am motivated to write a bit on the latter issue…. recently a new study was published examining the issue of carrying a gun for “personal protection”. the link to the story is HERE. I have to say that it seems to me to be a relatively even handed and objective bit of research. The fact that I pretty much agree with its findings has little to do with my review, though! I find it interesting that one of its conclusions is that it is far safer to attempt to escape from the situation than to meet an attacker with a gun or other weapon. This is a lesson that ALL Martial Artists learn early on in their delving into the dicipline. The goal that is installed in them is “do the minimum amount to allow one to escape…then leave, as quickly as possible” I also find it interesting that there appears to be no significant difference in success, no matter what weapon is used. Whether it is a gun, or a baseball bat, or a knife, the success results are all very close to each other.. There are also some other interesting, earlier reports and reviews linked to from the above report. I recommend reading them too. Not to digress too far, but I have some observations about these other studies and reports that I wanted to touch on. Most of my remarks are somewhat critical of the reports…as I do not agree with their techniques entirely.
- The studies referenced focus on incidents where a gun was involved in conflict. They are less useful I believe, for setting policy, because they ignore the far larger number of guns owned by Citizens that are NEVER raised in anger or fear. So…in short, they are looking at ONE facet of the issue of gun ownership in America.
- In some of the subsidiary studies (and the reviews by the authors of those reports), we are presented with some horrific anecdotes about gun owners who injured or killed totally innocent people because they felt threatened, somehow. To me, each one of these tales, as well as the recent spate of kids killing others with guns they found in their parent’s house, all show a serious lack of focus on education in America’s gun control laws. Later on, I will address this a bit more.
- I am concerned that the anti-gun folks out there will attempt to use this report to “prove” that guns are a scourge that should be taken out of the hands of Citizens, and only issued to “legal authorities”. Now, I have spoken about how well prohibition has worked in America, so I will just refer y’all to the 18th and 21st Amendments as apt reminders of that “success”. Another example, of course, would be the War On Drugs in America
I am quite willing to admit that Americans have a “Gun Problem”. However, I disagree with what that problem is, and how to correct it. Because I am tickled by bullet lists (in this context), I am going to do it again!
- I respect and agree 100% with the Constitution, and, of course, the 2d Amendment. I also agree with the recent SCOTUS ruling that found that the 2d Amendment DID allow Americans to purchase (almost) any weaponry they want to have. Who would I remove that ability from? Not a complicated issue….Pretty much anyone that has proven, by multiple actions, that they are a danger to society and themselves if they are allowed to have a weapon. This would include Violent felons convicted of multiple crimes, including LEOs, and folks that have shown that they do not have the mental capacity to handle a weapon safely. What weapons would I keep from the public? That is a little harder to answer, but, for the moment, I am going to go with guns that fire 100mm shells or larger, weapons of mass destruction, etc.
- Since (so far) most Americans do not fall into either of the categories of violent felon, or psychologically unstable, I asked myself what would I propose as a way to allow Citizens the freedom allowed by the Constitution, and yet, cut down on the likelihood of terrible accidents and emotion-fueled killings and woundings? I came up with the following….
- Create a Federal “Driver’s License” program for gun ownership. This would, I believe, make a huge difference in the way guns are owned and used in the USA. Now…how would this work. Here is what I have come up with:
- I would create a program based on the model of the Driver’s License. This would ensure that people who own a weapon have a significant level of training in its proper use. It would also, I believe, filter out many of the “impulse purchases” based on fear or lies, that tend to produce any of the unhappy stories listed in the media, and these studies.
- This program would require anyone interested in purchasing a weapon to go to an authorized agency, and receive a significant amount of training in the proper use, transport and storage of a weapon. Like a DL, this would include both written tests demonstrating knowledge of proper techniques, and range time to ensure that the person would have some actual experience in what shooting a gun entails. I would NOT require that the applicant purchase or have a weapon. As a part of the course, the agency could provide several calibers of weapons to use.
- I can see the course taking anywhere from 15 to 20 hours, if we want to do a thorough job. The written exam should include the basics of using a weapon – in no particular order, Treat every gun as loaded; Identify your target clearly; Always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction; keep the weapon clean; do not keep the weapon loaded and ready to fire…etc. The range work would involve shooting at a variety of targets with at least four different weapons. I would suggest a .22 handgun and a larger handgun – .357/.45, etc; Then, move to a rifle. This could just be a larger caliber, or perhaps, as with the handguns, a couple of calibers. Finally, a shotgun. In a really good program, I could even see a walk-through type arena, with flip-out targets, to give the potential owner a real feel for the sort of quick decision making necessary.
- The cost of the license should be around that of a DL, and, should be good for a number of years – say…five years or so..
- Also, as a part of this certification procedure, the state would provide a complete background check of the person requesting the license.
- I see a number of benefits to this plan.
- This would, as mentioned earlier, ensure that everyone getting a weapon would have some serious training on how to use it, and the effects it can have on a target.
- It could be used to simplify the background check for a gun purchase. A photo ID showing that the person has knowledge, and a number that can be looked up would remove a lot of complications.
- It would make it difficult for anyone to know what weaponry the holder had. As with a DL, it would be quite OK for a citizen to walk in without owning a single weapon, and perhaps even with NO intent of owning a weapon, and get some good information on the reality of gun ownership. Other than a record of background checks that would accumulate, there would be no count of what weapons had been purchased, without some intervention by the courts. Issuing a search warrent should be the FIRST thing that happens before this information can be gathered.
- without a license, legally purchasing a gun MIGHT be possible, but it could be made a more lengthy and difficult process…perhaps even requiring that the purchaser bring in documentation to prove they have the appropriate training for their desired weapon, and would require a longer waiting period, while a background check is run by the state.
I mentioned before that we have seen some pretty sad stories of kids finding a weapon, playing with it, and wounding or killing another person. We also have a number of examples of home owners who have “defended their property” and have mistakenly killed an innocent person. Shooting a person and taking their life is neither a joke nor a trivial event. Although we see it hundreds of times every day on television shows, the fact of the matter is that every time a person kills another living being (whether human or animal) it affects our soul. We need to be VERY attentive to that fact and NOT casually injury or kill another.. Anything that we can do to minimize that karmic burden is a Good Thing.
Now…let me recount a tale from my past about this business of purchasing a gun for “personal protection”. Some years ago (more than I care to think about), I had a friend, whose mother’s house was broken into while she was away for the day. She came back to find the door broken open and various items gone. I suspected at the time it was a junkie, because the things that were taken were items that could be pawned easily – Television, some other small electronics, some jewelry, etc. Well, Mom was really upset by this, as she is a very nice woman, and found it difficult imagine this sort of thing happening. It did not help at all when the cops interviewing her said that she likely got back within moments of the thief leaving the house!
I was out at their house a bit after this, visiting, and so got to hear the whole tale. Also, it turned out that Mom was so rattled about the event and the fact she might have confronted the thieves, that she and I talked for some time about buying a gun for “self protection”. She knew that I was fairly familiar with gun use, and went to the range off and on. (yes…I suppose at the time, I could be qualified as an actul “gun nut”.) In any case, she wanted to run out that day and pick up a pistol. I put the brakes on that, though, and told her that while I totally supported her desire to own a gun, I would only help out if she would play by my rules. She was interested, so, I went on to say that first off, we were going to schedule a day where we could go out to the home range a friend of mine had, so she could actually hold, and fire a variety of weapons. She had, of course, never held or fired a weapon in her life! Then, she and I would go through (essentially) the training program I mentioned above. As a part of the range time, I was going to set up some watermelons and cantelopes, so she could see exactly how much power the bullet had.
…..She and I went on to talk about the issues involved in shooting another person, and whether or not she could, when push came to shove, point that weapon and pull the trigger. Just as an example, I had her make a gun with her hand, cock her thumb back, and point it at my chest. After emphasizing that she was to think of her hand as a real gun and believe that as strongly as possible. I said “Ok…now pull the trigger three times and try to hit the center of my chest”. That was a sobering moment for her, as even though it was just her hand, she could not do it. Well, we never went to the range, but did pretty much decide that the next time she drove up to the house and thought it looked off -door open, etc – she would call the cops BEFORE going inside.
To reach back to my comments about the tragic stories listed in these reports, In every case that I have seen reported, the person that owned the gun had broken at least two or three of the basic rules of firearms safety. They had stored their guns insecurely; The gun was left in an unsafe condition (ready to fire with a round in the chamber); They had failed to identify their target properly; They had decided that an attack was better than retreat. These folks have to live with the knowledge that they took a life that did not deserve to go, and in the process damaged themselves and the friends and family of their victim(s). That is a heavy burden, even if one wishes to ignore it.
thanks for your time and attention….Comments are welcome, of course!
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations;
I realized the other day that it has been six months since I added anything to this collection of ramblings. It seems, though, that it was just yesterday. So….What shall I talk about this time?
Oddly enough….how about bees? The winter is passing, and in some areas, it is warm enough that the bees are starting to stir again and venture out. In a month or so, the colonies will really start waking up, and kicking into that “Spring” production cycle. I wonder how many of us beekeepers will go to the Apiary then, and find some percentage of the colony hives empty and cold, or filled with dead bees? Too many I fear! It seems it is getting harder and harder to keep colonies alive and healthy. There are, I believe, several factors here. First off, the weather in the East Tennessee area remains a challenge for the girls. The very hot periods stress the hive, and the lack of rain makes it harder and harder for them to retrieve the water they need for survival. Then, there is the weird weather temperature patterns we continue to experience. This week, for example, the highs are hanging in the mid 50s to low 60s. A few weeks ago, we had single digit highs for a week or so. Finally, this insane rush to use more and more pesticides, sprayed randomly around like a deadly fog, has GOT to be weakening the colonies. Even if the pesticides do not kill the girls, they do weaken the bugs, allowing mites and other parasites to flourish, and, cutting the energy they have for good housekeeping. The EPA has just approved yet ANOTHER deadly chemical which may have terrible effects on the colonies. Here is an article about it: About EPA Approval What will it take for society to realize the vital importance of bees? Will we have to have hundreds of thousands of workers in the fields, hand pollinating vegetables to keep society from starving? And will we be happy about the huge increase in food costs that stem from this? We can do without a new car, or a vacation, or new clothes…but food is vital for our survival. I suggest that everyone keep their eyes open for approval hearings like the EPA held for this toxin, and, let your opinion be known.
Remember – THe only thing that needs to happy for Evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
Greetings and Salutations;
There has been a burst of mindless lies and rants from Right-Wingers showing up on Face Book and while I realize trying to combat the problem with facts is probably like trying to keep the Ocean Tide from coming in, I thought I would not just sit by and do NOTHING. So…When the above image showed up on my time line, I decided to grab a copy, and, discuss here each of its “points”.
My first thought upon seeing this sort of rant is “What in the world are they trying to do with this?” It would be nice to believe that some thought had gone into it, and, it was designed to generate debate on how to improve America. However, as Click and Clack say…some people live life unhindered by the thought process. Rather, I realize that this is nothing more than a whiny rant that has no interest in improving things, but, rather just exists to spread hate and dislike.
So, now, let us look at each of the points raised in the image.
1) This is Pres Obama’s second term, so, by the Constitution, he cannot run again…so in a few years they will get their wish. He will be gone and someone else will be elected.. Of course, they are ignoring the fact that during the five years that Pres. Obama has already served, he has accumulated a surprisingly lengthy list of quite positive accomplishments, all if which are aimed at improving America. This has happened in spite of unending and strong opposition by the Republicans and other Right-Wingers. A few of the positives?
a) Osama Bin Laden met his end and was fed to the fishes (Respectfully, of course).
b) the Deficit is reduced by 3/4 or more from what it was when Pres. Obama took office.
c) While the economy is still terribly fragile, It has improved a bit, and, there is some hope that it may regain much of the strength it had some 10 years ago.
d) The Stock Market has regained a huge amount of value, reaching numbers it has not seen in a decade.
e) The ACA is the law of the land, and, after a rocky start, is proving to be a boon to millions of Americans. Perhaps most importantly, it has curbed many of the abuses by the Insurance Industry that allowed them to cancel policies without reason, sell crap policies that took huge premiums but provided nothing in return, raise premiums by huge percentages every year, deny people coverage due to “pre-existing conditions” – some of which had NOTHING to do with serious health issues, and, cap the amount of money they would have to spend on a policy holder in case they managed to get a claim approved.
f) We are no longer deeply entangled in the wars in the Middle East, taking the huge numbers of casualties that we were during the previous administration.
There are a lot more, but, these are a few, good examples of why I believe that wishing that Pres. Obama was “gone” is foolish and based on factors that have nothing to do with his performance in office.
2) Closed Borders? REALLY? If the borders were truly closed, and it was impossible for undocumented workers to make it into the USA, what do these people think would happen? Like it or not, undocumented workers are a vital part of the American Economy now, have been for some time and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future. After all, who is going to pick the produce, clean the toilets, build the houses and do all the really hard work that it takes to keep America going? Are Americans going to take those jobs? I know that they are not going to work for what the producers pay the undocumented workers. Now, if the borders were closed, and Americans DID take over the jobs, it is likely that they would demand more money for less work. That would cause a jump in prices for everyone. Also, I suspect that there wouldb e a drop in availability of goods and services, because it has been my observation that American workers often do not have the focus or speed that other workers exhibit. So…it gets back to the question I started with…who will replace the undocumented workers, and, how much will YOU be willing to pay them per hour to do it.
3) Right now, it is true enough that English is the defacto language of the USA. However, that is mainly because English speaking citizens are in the majority, at least for the moment. For us to not even attempt to accommodate people who speak another language really shows what small, shriveled souls we have. Read the Constitution. The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, chose not to create an official language for the country. Even then, they realized that America was going to be a melting pot culture that would attract people from all around the world. People who spoke a multitude of languages. They wanted America to WELCOME those people, because they also understood that the alloy of these differing peoples would create a country that was far stronger than it would be if it were “pure”. Finally, If you have a problem with interacting with folks that do not speak English well, I would suggest that it is far better and more productive to learn a second language, then be an egotistical twit and force others to learn YOUR language.
4) This point seems to imply that American life is NOT controlled by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Again…kind of delusional… I look around and while I see some things happening that are infringing on those rights, I do not see a wide-spread erosion of the Rights guaranteed us as Americans by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Since I seem to be missing something, I wish that one of these Right-Wingers would be kind enough to explain to me why they are saying this and what I am missing. Actually, considering the number of Right Wingers who want to remove Constitutionally guaranteed rights, this is even more puzzling. After all, it is not the Liberals who are protesting and raising a big stink to try and force the elected officials to block people from their right to vote, to block children from getting a good, broad education that will allow them to be successful in today’s world, and, are trying to remove the rights of citizens to make personal decisions about their own bodies and life. It is the Right-Wingers who want to expand government to deny these rights to citizens. Explain that to me, please.
5) Mandatory drug screening? Been there, done that, and it was an expensive failure. Less than 1% of recipients were found to be using and, since MILLIONS of dollars were spent on the program, it ended up costing around $40,000 to find each one of them. The only people that really benefited from these programs are the rich Right-Wingers who run labs that test for drugs.
6) No Freebies? I am not sure that this means to the Right, but, to me, it shows a sad lack of understanding about what people are getting in benefits from the government. The food and support benefits provided the poverty stricken in America are hardly generous, are limited to 60 months in the LIFETIME of the recipient, and, are challenging to get and keep. Actually, Walmart makes out better than most of the poor. It is reported that Walmart salaries for many workers are so low that we taxpayers are giving the stores many tens of thousand of dollars a day to provide benefits to their workers, so they can afford to work for the company. Also, the rich and ultra-rich get such generous tax benefits that they avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. It also ignores the fact that many undocumented workers are both so underpaid that they would starve without aid, and, are paying income taxes and such that they will NEVER see any benefits from. It would be worthwhile for some folks to follow this link, and read the article, so they will have some facts about the subjects they hold such strong opinons about.
Reading this statement really kind of makes me think that the poster is proudly proclaiming that we are NOT a Christian Nation, but, a collection of greedy, self-centered, grasping bastards that would kick a starving child to the side of the road if we happen to see them! Good to know, I suppose, since it clarifies what the rest of the world can expect from us.
7) A Balanced Budget? Sure…and easy to do with these two actions: a) Cut the military budget, the vast amount of pork, the benefits enjoyed by the Federal Representatives, and the “Black Budget”. b) Raise tax rates on the part of society that can afford it the most – the Rich and Ultra-Rich.
8) Tax Reform? Sure….As mentioned above, raise taxes on the rich and ultra rich. In the process, eliminate loopholes that allow them and the large companies to hide their income in other countries, and, so, avoid paying any taxes at all. I realize that to many Right-Wingers, this means “Stop collecting taxes”, but, again, that is delusional. There is nothing magical about the government. It needs to collect money from someplace to pay for the services it offers to the citizens. No money coming in…at some point, the services will stop. No one wants to pay taxes, but, everyone wants the services that they get.
9) Term limits? Do not make me laugh. We already HAVE term limits for elected officials at every level. It is called “getting out of the recliner on election day and voting for someone besides the incumbent.” Who is responsible for the fact that, traditionally, 95% of the incumbents are returned to office? You and I and too many other citizens are responsible. Every American who does not stand in the election booth on the date, and record a vote for someone else is responsible for elected representatives keeping office well past the time they should leave.
Greetings and Salutations;
Over the past year or so, I have started watching Jackson Galaxy’s Animal Planet program, “My Cat From Hell”. I have to say I like it a lot, as Jackson does a great job of analyzing the family dynamics and finding ways to modify the behavior of the people and animals to make sure that everyone has a positive life. I will say that this show has also re-enforced one of my basic rules of life – that is that there are no bad animals, just bad owners. While there have been a few cats that have had actual issues that made them difficult to live with (The most recent, and perhaps the most famous one, is Lux – the “911 cat” who recently became an internet and news sensation because he was so violent that his owners felt they had to call 911 for aid), a vast majority of the issues are caused by clueless attitudes and actions on the part of the humans in the house. The fact that Jackson does such a good job of analyzing these issues, and finding ways to re-direct and educate the owners in a non-threatening and non-confrontational way says a lot about him and his talents. He is not a bad musician either! Over the past year or so, as his program has gathered a following, he has expanded his commercial presence…which is fine of course. He needs to take advantage of the fame while it lasts.
Alas, not all is happy in Galaxy-Land. As part of his online store (which does sell quite a number of excellent products), he has something called “Spirit Essences”. Now, I had not paid much attention to these, but, recently, thanks to some stress in the cat population here, one of the cats was getting a bit hinky and having some difficulties interacting with the other cats. So, since Jackson has, in his Spirit Essences line a couple of products that are designed to deal with the sort of issues I was having, I looked into getting a couple of bottles and trying to modify the cat’s behavior. Well, I was terribly disappointed to find that Spirit Essences are nothing more than homeopathy! And, for $23+ per ounce, that is REALLY ANNOYING to me.. At least he is honest about it, in that the listed physical ingredients in the bottle are water and alcohol. The description of the process, though, explains that the water is “treated” by shining colored light that has been refracted through special crystals into the water, and, apparently, waving various herbs, flowers and other plants at the water. The water then “retains the energy” of the materials and lights, and then somehow imparts that to the companion animal it is applied to. This is, in my considered opinion, nonsense and nothing more than a way to suck huge amounts of money out of people for water and a small shot of alcohol. Homeopathy has been discredited time and time again…it just does not work. At best, the Essences are providing a Placebo effect…but, the claims of the water magically holding onto the energy of the light and plants are just silly. If the cats that these Essences are used on actually have behaviorial changes, it is because of the increased handling and interaction by the owners as part of the instructions for the proper application of the Spirit Essences.
I really like Jackson, and, appreciate the work he does both to improve the lives of the individual cats who end up on his program, the education he provides about the reality of cats and the way their mind works through the show, and, the support he gives for various shelters and rehabilitation programs around the country, so it pains me to see this sort of foolishness being included in his bag of tricks. In my opinion, if you purchase the Spirit Essences…do not be fooled into thinking you are going to get a magic cure in a bottle that will do anything positive for your companion animal. . Rather, look at it as a contribution to Jackson’s ongoing programs, and, to specific shelters he is supporting (a part of the selling price goes to a shelter)
I am fairly sure that Jackson will not ever see this, or hear of it….there is just TOO much noise on the Net. However…if anyone DOES read this that has contact with him….Please, Please….change the blasted formulation of the Spirit Essences! Put SOMETHING in there besides Water and Alcohol….It will not affect the cost of production any huge amount, and, at least you will be selling something that might do some good! I will suggest (and I give up ANY claims for compensation for this suggestion) that you actually put extracts of the herbs and flowers in the bottles. There is a lot to be said for Aroma Therapy, and, cats DO have a VERY sensitive sense of smell. Jackson….You do a huge amount of good in the world, with your campaign to help companion animals have a good, long life, and, your other good works…but, the homeopathy thing is a stain that can cause big problems for your growing empire.
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations;
Proust, in his famous tome “Remembrance Of Things Past”, spent something like a dozen pages describing the joys of having some Madeline cookies and Tea in the afternoon. Now, to a certain extent, I can understand his enthusiasm, as I have made Madelines myself, and, the delicate, lemon flavor of those foamy treats is a great taste treat. I would make them more often, but, they are labor intensive, and, I have not had the time or energy to spend on them for far too long. I will mention in passing, though, that once when I took a couple of large platters of them to a dinner party of a circle of friends, I took about six of them back home with me, and, the only reason I took that many was because I was kind of a hard-ass about it.
However, while that is a pleasant memory, that is not the one I wanted to mention here. No, my topic is really supposed to be Jello chocolate pudding . I prefer the cooked version over the “cold milk” version, as I think it creates a slightly better flavor and texture. But, that is personal prejudice…. It had been a while since I had cooked any up, and, yesterday, while I was casting about in the afternoon, to see what I could put together to eat, I noted that I had quite a few boxes of the pudding mix in the pantry. It had been on sale last year, and, so since at the time, I had a buck or two to spare, I stocked up. I moved on to cut down on the number of mix boxes, and increase the amount of ready to eat pudding in the refrigerator, ended up with a nice bowl of it cooling on the counter in fairly short order. One little bit of cooking technology I discovered a bit ago was that it works amazingly well to microwave puddings and custards. It is amazingly efficient (cutting several hours of cooking in the oven to half an hour or so), and, with the proper sequence of heating and stirring, creates a pudding/custard that is every bit as good as the slower cooked one
Finally, I was able to spoon out a bowl of the rich, dark custard, and take a bite. Like Proust, this taste took me back into my memories to a Young Adults Retreat we had held about 25 years ago. My good friend, Bill M, my sister, Cathy and I were the active force creating the event, and dealing with the logistics of it. At the time, we were all very active in First Lutheran’s programs for youth and young adults, so we stayed quite busy. As a matter of fact just a couple of weeks before, we had run a Youth Retreat. Of course, food is an important part of these events, and, we were casting around to decide on some sort of slightly sweet dessert snack for the Retreat. At the Youth Retreat, we had experienced a run on the chocolate pudding. No one wanted the Vanilla, but, we ran out on the first day of the event (and kind of struggled to deal with the next two days because of it!). Well, the Young Adults group was only a few years older than the youth that had run through the chocolate pudding like locusts through a wheat field, so we thought we would be smart and get plenty of extra pudding so as not to run out.
Of course, as one might guess, the age difference of just a few years made all the difference in the world. Almost NONE of the chocolate pudding got eaten over the weekend, and so we were stuck with gallons of the stuff. It was actually pretty good, though, but, there was just so much of it. We ended up contributing some to a food bank, as I recall, and took a bunch of it for us to have. I made it through the stack of cans I had ended up with, but, I was pretty sick of chocolate pudding by the time the last bowl was gone. It was several years until I would eat a bite of the stuff, and, even today, the mention of a truck load of chocolate pudding remains an inside joke for us.
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and salutations;
Once again, I am relieved to find that there are stranger people than me out there. I ran across this link about Walter Potter, who lived around the 1850-1890 time frame. He was interested in taxidermy, and started doing it at the tender age of 15. Today, he would be looked upon with suspicion, I suspect, as this could be a sign of an incipient serial killer. However, in Victorian times, there was much interest in the hobby, and, he ended up creating some of the most amazing dioramas out of small animals that one has ever seen. For us, today, it is a bit weird, and one looks at it with fascination even though there is a strong feeling that one should not…. Here are a couple of examples of his work:
Busy At School
A nice game of Croquet
and, I would suggest you follow the link to read more about his work…it is pretty amazing: Walter Potters taxidermy
Greetings and Salutations;
Some time ago, I was poking through Ebay on one of those random walks to see what nuttiness was posted there, when I ran across a delightful little statue of a cat perched on (and looking over the side of) a stack of books. According to the listing it was done around the 1950s. Well, at $80, it was attractive, but, past my pain point, so I did not grab it. Over the next month though, I kept it on my “watch” list, and, checked on it several times. No one bought it, and, when the vendor re-listed it at $60, I was no longer able to resist the tempation. So, now it is decorating one of the little alcoves by the main entrance doors in the Octagon. Tristan has taken to sitting in the next alcove down, as it gives him a good perspective on the room. Well, the title of this post comes from his reaction (which I was able to capture on camera) when he finally realized the cat statue was there:
Greetings and Salutations;
The past couple of months have been a chaotic nightmare in many ways. Firstly, we were ready to move into the Octagon on The Hill as of the first of the year, so I got given the job of moving everything from the Rental to the new house. Lisa, who has had increasingly bothersome amounts of pain and disability from her left hip, was not really able to help that much. She managed a couple of sessions of a half hour or so each, of putting stuff in boxes, but, that was it. The entire burden fell on me. In addition, when we told the landlord that we were finally heading out, they turned around and found someone to rent the place who wanted to move in almost the day after we exited! Of course that was not going to happen, as there was cleaning that needed to be done, and, some repair items that had been pending because I was too nice a guy to make an issue of it with them. However, they needed us out by the end of February. I made it, by pushing myself too hard, and, through the kind aid of several of my friends, who came out one day and helped me get four truckloads of possessions out of the Rental and into the Octagon – including the heavy stuff of the appliances and some other furniture. I cannot express how thankful I am that they came through for me, and, would not even let me feed them dinner in return! I will get them later with the dinner thing, but, I did not push it then.
Then, to add to the fun…At the first of February, Lisa went to an appointment with her medical group, and, finally mentioned to them during the examination that she was having a lot of pain from her hip. They took an x-ray, and, a few minutes later popped into the examination room to say she was scheduled for an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon on the next Tuesday. She felt that it was probably not good news simply because one does not get an appointment that quick for a consult, or double-check. Indeed, the surgeon, Dr. Oros, looked at her scans and scheduled her for hip replacement surgery 10 days later! While things went very well, indeed, she did have to stay in hospital for several days, and, I, of course, spent much of that time there too – which meant that nothing got moved from the Rental. It has now been four and a half weeks since the operation, and, from my point of view, she is doing very well indeed. She has been very good at doing the physical therapy exercises we were shown in Joint Class, and continues to push the envelope. She discarded the walker almost completely after Dr. Oros said she could try walking with a cane a little bit, and has hardly used it since. She is back to work, at least for half days until the NEXT appointment, where with luck, she will be cleared for full time again. she is driving herself fairly well. And, her quality of walking has improved greatly. Now, for example, she is getting good, normal movement out of her left leg – after using it for little more than a crutch that she moved by swiveling her hips for a couple of years. She is quite steady, and has had NO falls, even when negotiating stairs. Finally, her uses of the cane is evolving. She was putting weight on it when she first started using it, but, now, it is more for balance and steadiness. So…that is good, but, since I was the caretaker during this time, it did complicate trying to get other things done.
Finally, once everything was packed into the Octagon, that still left a somewhat overwhelming number of boxes to empty out and sort out the contents to their final location. That has proceeded apace, though, and while it is still pretty chaotic here, it is easier to find things, and the paths are MUCH wider.
As for the Art and Cats part of the title….that has to do with the move too. The cats are really taking to their new environment well. They enjoy the fact that they can run long distances now, and, have several big windows where they and Mr. Sunbeam can get together. They are also enjoying exploring the main part of the Octagon, and, really want to get up into the tower (which has been off limits because they could have escaped into the garage) and have managed to get into it a couple of times already. Since I covered the open risers of the stairs with wood paneling, I have no problem with them going into it now.
So…we are in the Octagon. It is a MUCH better house than we have lived in for some time, and, if we can keep it is going to be a great place for parties, and life in general. Keep your fingers crossed!
Greetings and Salutations;
Well, for the first time in far too long, I hiked into the apiary, to see what was happening there. My thought, as I looked around, was that at least it is going to provide me with a great opportunity to rebuild and restore it in a better place and plan! I am sorry to report that the two colonies I had remaining last year have either crashed, died during the winter or flown the coop, as the apiary is a quiet, and deserted place just now. While the hives have not suffered too much – they are still standing and appear fairly dry and such, the girls are gone. Maybe in a couple of months I can afford a nuc or two and get them going again. At least this affords me a chance to clean up the hives, and move them to a better location.
One problem I noticed a bit ago is that the “good” place I had for them turned out to be a location where a river of very cold air would accumulate and flow by. Considering the single digit temperatures we had a month or two ago, I suspect that is what did the girls in. Ah, well, live and learn. As I may have mentioned before, though, one good thing about living on the property, instead of 30+ minutes away is that it allows the opportunity to actually take care of things, instead of being an absentee Landlord.
Bee Man Dave.