Category Archives: Good Deed Doers

Let’s Go To Town!.

Tired of calling your senators and congressman/woman?  Maybe what you need to do instead is go to town.  Town Halls, that is.

Yup.  Here’s another way to raise some hell.

The Town Hall Project 2018 is a website that posts public forums for senators and members of congress.  Meetings where you can go and listen to and talk with the people who claim to represent you.

If you have questions, problems concerns with what is happening in our government, in our world, go to town.

If you think that keeping Obamacare is important to you, go to town.

If you think that maintaining Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as you’ve expected them to be when it was time for you to collect on what you’ve paid out for decades, go to town.

If you think that protecting the environment is important to you, go to town.

If you think that Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims should be revoked, go to town.

If you have other opinions that I haven’t listed and that you feel your representatives in Congress need to hear about, go to town.  And bring friends.  Bring lots and lots of friends.

The Town Hall Project 2018 has promised to update its website regularly.  So bookmark it, and show up.

American Democracy is no longer a spectator sport.  Get it in gear.

 

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Keeping Our Heads for Four Years

If you were a news junkie during the George W. Bush era, you’re already experiencing deja vu.  That sinking feeling already makes your eyes roll automatically when Putin’s President appears.  It settled into the back of your neck from the whiplash as you shake your head and shout “no, no, no, no, no, no, no!” over the latest outrage or tweet.  And it’s there in the pit of your stomach, when you try not to vomit whenever you see the color orange.

Yup, it’s started.  The Deluge.  The Flood.  The Trump shit storm.

trump-and-putin

During the Bush years, I would just be ready to pounce on one issue, when another hit the fan and took the wind out of my sails. Resistance is hard if there is just so much to resist.

How, I worried in the days since November 8, will I survive Trump.  I feared a heart attack.  A stroke.  Getting so scared I’d shit in my pants.   Of course I worry about the last one sometimes during a scary movie.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a strategy for a hybrid Resister/Surviving Human.  I’m going to become a political centaur!

centaur-female

Google Image.  No shit will be given by this filly.

 

I’m going to take my mother’s marital and parental advice and apply it to my activism.  She said:

Choose Your Battles!

Me, I’m going to try to focus on issues I know about and/or that are closest to my heart.  The ones I write about here on FiftyFourAndAHalf.

But that won’t be all I do.  I will look for and follow the lead of others who are knowledgeable about other issues, and I will try to help to the extent I can.  It’s not hard, really, to make calls to Congress and the White House.  Really, it just takes a minute.  You or I can even just cut and paste and hit “send.”

But I will try my very best to keep my blood pressure — and my outrage to livable levels.

George W. Bush kept us all off balance because there were so many things to be outraged about, that we couldn’t keep it up.  Different bad presidents need different tactics.

And Trump will make the Dubya years look like a walk in the park.  And that park is in Baghdad.

 

 

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Dear Electors

Today’s New York Times broke my heart by informing me (can you believe it? — A Newspaper!) that while the electors in the Electoral College will vote tomorrow (Monday, December 19), we won’t actually know the results until January 6.  Shit.

UPDATE!

I was wrong.  I misunderstood.  Perhaps I read the Russian rules.

Trump just now went over the 270 needed to become the 45th (and possibly last) President of the United States.

WE’RE OFFICIALLY SCREWED.

Now back to my original post which is now completely irrelevant:

Still, I want to take just one more opportunity to beg:

Dear Electors:

Please don’t let Donald Trump actually become President of the United States.  He’s cray-cray.  And could you possibly imagine listening to that 6th grade speaking style for 4 years?  Not to mention the fact that he’s already pissed off most of Asia.

Oh and there is that whole bit about Russia interfering with our election.

trump-and-putin

Google Image

So please, please, vote carefully.  Vote as if the future of the world is in your hands.  Because it is.

Sincerely,

2.8 Million (and counting) American Voters

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PICK UP THE PHONE, PLEASE

What the hell.  Do this.  It is just one of the ways we can express our feelings about the fact — yes FACT — that the Russians influenced the 2016 American election.

The entire reason that the Electoral College exists is to protect our nation from an unqualified candidate.  Sooo….

 

From the Daily Kos:

Call the White House: Brief the Electoral College on Russia’s sabotage before December 19

The CIA has said that the Russian government sabotaged this election with the express purpose of aiding Donald Trump. Such foreign interference is exactly what the Founding Fathers feared when they set up the Electoral College—as a final buffer before electing the President of the United States.

Before the Electoral College meets on Monday December 19, President Obama must declassify any and all relevant intelligence to Russia’s interference—and officials must brief the electors before they make this decision.

Please call the White House at 1-855-999-1663 and leave this message to President Obama:

I am requesting that President Obama declassify any and all intelligence related to Russia’s interference of the presidential election—and to brief all members of the Electoral College before they meet on Monday, December 19.

Daily Kos wants you to let them know how it went.  But frankly, I’m only asking you to make the one call to the White House.

Do I think this will work?

Do I think that enough electors will change their votes?

Do I think that Hillary will become president?

Sadly “No” is the answer to all of these.

But I don’t know about you, but I must speak up (while I still can).  For all the things that are important to me that I yammer on about all the time on this blog.

Again and again — we all must speak up.  It’s time to get used to using our loudest, most effective protest voices — not our inside voices.  We’re going to be calling this number a whole lot in the next few years.

the-russians-are-coming

Image from IMBd.  I’m pretty sure that Putin and his Pals are not the nice Russians that arrived on our shores in this 1968 movie.  Positive.

UPDATE!!!  The phone lines are very busy.  You can also email, but calling is better:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.  Or do BOTH!

Please share this so that as many people call as possible.

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Only I Would Call It “Poop Week”

In May 2012, about a year after I started blogging, I came out of the closet here on FiftyFourAndAHalf.  Out of the water closet that is.  I fessed up.

I posted this:

My life is shitty.

No, no, no.  I can’t say that, they’ll think I’m suicidal.

My life is in the toilet.

Ditto.

Saturday, May 19th is World IBD Day.  World Irritable Bowel Disease Day.

That’s it!

Recently I learned about this, umm, holiday.  It is a very personal one for me.  Way more personal than I want to admit.  But of course it’s not my fault.   I blame my sister, Judy.

You see, some time in the late sixties Judy pasted a picture on the front of the medicine cabinet above the toilet in our one bathroom.

*

Little did I know at whatever tender age I was that that picture would illustrate my life.  Because in 1972, not long after it went up, I found out that I had ulcerative colitis.  An inflammatory bowel disease.  The bloody flux.  I was in and out of the bathroom and the hospital for much of my teens and early 20s.  What a blast!

Long story short, it ended up that I didn’t have colitis!  But we only found that out when a bunch of men (led by Dr. Herbert Hoover) came at me with knives, removed my large intestine and reorganized my plumbing.  That was when they found out that I really had Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s Disease, is, well, worse.  Partly because I can’t for the life of me spell it.  But also because it means I still spend way too much time in the bathroom (although I am very well read).  Oh, and it can affect the entire rest of your body.  Trust me when I say it’s nasty, and that there is no cure.  I would be delighted if that were to change in my lifetime.

*****

Fast forward to now, today, December 7, 2016.  Today ends Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week.  There will be a Thunderclap of posts, and tweets, blogs, and Facebook postings to call attention to Crohn’s and Colitis — to Irritable Bowel Disease — diseases that are often “invisible.” Because unless a person goes onto the Internet and proclaims that their life is in the toilet, well, nobody knows.  Unless perhaps if they are in the next stall.

In all seriousness, 1.6 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from Crohn’s or colitis.  These diagnoses are life changing — they cramp not just your gut, but your life.  Your life really does revolve around the toilet.

So I have a favor to ask of you guys.

You’ve all been wonderful, supportive friends, who have laughed with me about my poop problems.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Or maybe just from my bottom.

But here is the favor.

I have been working with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to get member of the House of Representatives to join the Congressional Crohn’s and Colitis Caucus.  These Representatives will, hopefully, help direct funding into research towards a cure.  To, in fact, get me (and 1,599,999 others) off the pot.

Please send an email to your Congressman/woman (you can find their information here:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/) and ask them to join the Caucus.  In fact, just cut and paste this into the email/form:

PLEASE JOIN THE CONGRESSIONAL CROHN’S & COLITIS CAUCUS!

Led by Representatives Ander Crenshaw (R-FL-4) and Nita Lowey (D-NY-17), the Congressional Crohn’s & Colitis Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress dedicated to educating their colleagues and the American public on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The Caucus works together to raise awareness, support IBD medical research, and protect patient access to care. The Caucus also works to assert the patient perspective in regulatory decision-making, including the development of a biosimilar regulatory pathway. To join or to learn more information, please contact Matthew Moore in Rep. Crenshaw’s office (matthew.moore@mail.house.gov; 202-225-2501), or Dana Miller in Rep. Lowey’s office (dana.miller@mail.house.gov; 202-225-6506).

Thanks.  You guys are the best.

be-idvisible

 

 

 

 

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I’d Like To Buy The World A …

You’ve been asking for more poop from me.  Be careful what you wish for.

Because today is World Toilet Day!

This morning, I was inspired as shit by my friend Judy when she alerted me to the arrival of World Toilet Day (which I’d somehow forgotten?!?) and to Mr. Toilet himself.  And to this article.

Mr. Toilet is my hero.  Seriously.

Mr. Toilet was not born with that name.  Nope, Mr. Toilet is actually a rich, big-hearted man named Jack Sim who wants to do good in the world with the shitload of money he made in construction.  So, being flush with cash, Jack was inspired when he read a statement by his country’s (Singapore) then prime minister:

He said we should measure our graciousness according to the cleanliness of our public toilets.

As a travel lover, let me tell you that nothing, and I do mean nothing, says “welcome” like a clean, accessible toilet.   (As a Crohn’s patient, however, I stay home a lot.)

As I said last year on this auspicious occasion,

The point of World Toilet Day is actually pretty important.  People without access to hygienic facilities risk illness, many women are preyed upon and attacked as they seek out a place to go.  Diseases are transmitted, including infections, cholera, well, here’s a picture.

The "F-diagram" (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing. Source WikipediaThe “F-diagram” (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing.
Source Wikipedia

Mr. Toilet founded the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001.  As Judy’s article says:

It’s a nonprofit coalition of leaders from more than 40 countries who try to come up with innovative solutions to tackle the world’s sanitation and water problems.

Together these loo lovers started the World Toilet College and SaniShop, initiatives that train entrepreneurs not only to make household toilets but also to maintain them and market them in the developing world. More than 4,000 people have been trained since 2005; the WTO says that up to 10,000 toilets were assembled in 2010 alone.

But it’s the way Mr. Toilet wants to go about increasing toilets that hit me where I live.

So first you have to make owning a toilet not just rational but aspirational. You have to make a toilet come with bragging rights, like a Louis Vuitton handbag.

Aspiration is important, as you can see even rich people have really nice toilets — they go for the highest level all the time. So this is the same as the poor people. They aspire to own products that have bragging rights, like a cellphone or television. The psychology is exactly the same.

He wants to first make owning and using a toilet funny, then sexy, and then normal.  He wants to remove the taboo on poo.  He wants people to laugh about, talk about and sing about toilets.

Here.  I’ll help.

Who knew that World Toilet Day would lead me to find the theme song for my life.

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My Challenge — Make Me Eat Crow

Last Wednesday as I drove to work heartbroken over Trump’s victory, John Lennon’s song Imagine came on the radio.

It didn’t improve my mood any.  Because I was already imagining plenty.

Earlier today while waiting for a doctor’s appointment, I read a blog from my hometown that posted the Democratic Town Committee’s commitment to not permit bullying, acts of hate or discrimination in town.

Expecting to see universal support for this stance, I was shocked to see the first commenters take a stand, not exactly against, the DTC, but pooh-poohing the need for such a stand.

Naturally, I commented that those commenters obviously hadn’t been paying attention during the campaign.  The result was a fairly brief round and round with the commenter, named Dan.  As it turned out, Dan was a troll; his comments were removed from the blog along with several damn good ones of mine, I will add.

But he made me think.

When George W. Bush was elected, I worried.  I didn’t think he had the brain capacity to be president, and didn’t think he could handle the job.  Obviously, I didn’t predict 9/11 or the Iraq war, but I did see in him a bully and a person too easily goaded.  I was right.  His policies led us into a stupid, unnecessary war.  His economic policies led us into a severe, catastrophic economic crisis that only the end of his presidency and Obama’s election prevented from becoming a full-blown economic Depression.

I also thought that Dick Cheney would be a good, calming, fatherly influence.  My bad.  And his, actually.

With Trump, I am afraid on a deeper level.  I’ve expressed those fears many times, so I’ll just say that nothing he has said since his election, and nothing he has done since his election, and nobody he has appointed/is considering appointing has allayed any of my fears.  He is an ignorant, hate-filled bully with small fingers who will have access to the nuclear codes in two months.

But you know what?  This is where this morning’s troll comes in.

I would love to be wrong.

I would love for each and every Trump voter to work towards proving me that I was crazy to worry.

  • Prevent bullying/hate crimes/discrimination.  Step in at your own risk when necessary.  If you say Trump will not increase these things, show me I’m wrong in thinking he will.
  • Protect social programs.  Write to Congress.  Let them know that programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are programs Americans have relied upon for decades.  Show me that I’m wrong in thinking that these programs will all be gutted to my and the middle and lower class populations’ detriment.
  • Protest against any new military actions.  If there’s time, that is.  If Trump acts in a huff, then, you have my permission to bend over and kiss your own ass goodbye.
  • Pay attention.  Be knowledgeable about current events.  Remember who is doing what.
  • Assess the economic impacts by something other than your own tax returns.  What is happening in the housing market, the jobs market.  Have their been improvements in infrastructure;
  • Evaluate the importance of the industries that are succeeding in Trump’s America.  Did Trump deliver his promises to restore the coal industry.  Manufacturing?
  • Remember your history.  If you believe, as my troll does, that comparisons of Trump’s America to Hitler’s Germany, watch what they do and prevent them from repeating history.  (That’s why we study history, isn’t it?)
  • Show me that the Federal judges appointed at all levels are interested in justice and not in advocating from the bench a la Scalia.  Make sure they protect the rights of the folks who can’t stand up for themselves.
  • Vary your news sources — none of them provide the full story or an unbiased story
  • Consider the other side’s position — and I will try to do the same

The list of things that concern me, of course,  goes on and on.

Make it so that in 4 years, I will look back at the fears I (and so many others) had about Donald Trump’s election and laugh at myself for my foolish fears.

Make me eat crow

I will gladly eat crow.  If there are any left given Trump’s plan to gut all sorts of environmental programs and the climate change pact.

eating-crow-1

Photo Credit:  https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1127/1009248999_385551a5f6.jpg.  But you know I got it from Google Images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
Winston Churchill, statesman and prime minister

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