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Ripley’s Believe it or NOT!

Sunday mornings in my house growing up were dedicated to the Sunday Funnies, the comics, in the Bridgeport Post. While my dad always tried to convince me that Lil’ Abner was funny (it wasn’t), I loved Ripley’s Believe it or Not!  I read it faithfully, for years.

It’s been years since I read it though. I chalk it up to reading the news online instead of on paper.  The Funnies are not as easy to find online.

But just today, the Funnies made it to the “Real News”!  Or it should have. You see, this story is A FRONT-PAGE-WORTHY story.  A Believe it or NOT! classic.

Bigfoot Porn Has Become A Major Controversy In A U.S. House Race. Seriously.

Sigh.

In my adopted home state of Virginia, in the 5th Congressional District which includes Charlottesville, the GOP recently put forth Denver Riggleman to run for Congress.  This change occurred when the incumbent, Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, retired following allegations that he and his wife made his staff do menial tasks including walking the couple’s dog.

But with Riggleman, the fur really starts to fly.  You see, he, ummm, put his Big Foot in his mouth with his Instagram account:

That question has been inspired by Leslie Cockburn, a Democrat who’s running for Congress in Virginia’s 5th District. On Twitter this Sunday, Cockburn accused her Republican opponent, Denver Riggleman, of being a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica.” Her tweet included a crudely drawn image of Bigfoot — with the monster’s genitalia obscured — taken from Riggleman’s Instagram account. She added, “This is not what we need on Capitol Hill.”

After showing that image, I promise to not comment on the Democratic candidate’s name.  I promise.  Anybody got any duct tape??????

I agree that we don’t really need someone in the United States Congress who believes in Big Foot but not climate change. Who doesn’t realize that this is not an issue that Virginians care about.  Who believes that there are women who want Big Foot — although if it weren’t for the small hands, that might explain Trump’s allure.

So, My Fellow Americans, in 2018 we find ourselves as a nation drawn into the Sunday Funnies.  Into Ripley’s Believe it or NOT!

I can’t wait to hear how the Evangelicals will spin this one!

***

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Serious and Silly

cusedToday’s post is stolen.  Copied.  Plagarized (with attribution, but hey, it doesn’t make me any less lazy, just less liable for prosecution.  But I’m good with that).  Sometimes other people just hit the nail on the head and, well, it should be shared/stolen and disseminated all over the sphere.

Serious

One clear lesson I learned in grammar school is that everyone in America deserves a fair trial by a competent lawyer.  It serves to promote confidence in our government, avoid mob actions against accused people, and prevents unjust imprisonment.  In short, it demonstrates that we are a nation of laws.  In fact, it long predates our independence.

My first exposure to it was in 5th grade, when Mrs. Ganley (a wonderful soul, RIP) taught us about the Boston Massacre and how John Adams, later one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the 2nd U.S. President, defended the British soldiers accused of killing colonists in December 1770 Boston.

The story of the Boston Massacre and John Adams’ able defense of the soldiers is a noble story.  And it helped establish in the new Republic, formed not too long thereafter, the tradition of capable representation for the accused.

Hillary did just that when she was assigned to defend a man accused of raping a 12 year old girl.

My friend Karen in her blog Why I’m Voting For Hillary and Not Against Trump reposted a lawyer’s excellent Facebook explanation of the duty of lawyers to represent those accused of crimes.  Hillary Clinton’s representation in that long ago case demonstrates that she did what lawyers, including John Adams, have done for centuries.  Ensure justice is delivered.

Gail Webb West
(earlier this week on Facebook)·

[…] Before you run that misleading, disgusting video about Hillary Clinton representing the piece of scum who violated Kathy Shelton or repeat the blatant lies about Hillary Clinton laughing about “getting him off” you might want to think about who, and more importantly what, your mud slinging is hitting. It’s hitting me, my husband, and every other attorney who has ever been appointed to represent an indigent criminal defendant. It’s hitting the United States Constitution and the constitutions of every state, including the Tennessee State Constitution.

I woke up to that b***s*** this morning and that’s when the whole thing got way too personal and, just to be frank, way too ignorant, for me. Until you’ve been in the position of being REQUIRED by your professional oath and license to represent to the best of your capabilities the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS of an individual charged with a crime, you don’t have a clue. I’ve been there. In a big way. Step into my shoes. Walk with me . . .

Just a small town lawyer, growing a general practice of law, trying to make a living to support your family, and doing the best you can for your clients, you get a call (while on vacation no less) from the local court clerk saying that your name (or my husband’s name) has come up next on the list to represent a defendant who can’t afford an attorney. Then the “other shoe falls”, the defendant is charged in one of the most heinous crimes that your little county has ever known. There’s no choice. There’s no question being asked. You accept the appointment unless you have a valid and real conflict of interest that would be a detriment to the CLIENT . . . the detriment to you and your livelihood and your family can’t even be a consideration.

You represent that client aggressively to the full extent the law will allow. You do it because you took an oath to do that for EVERY client. How they became your client is irrelevant. But you also do that because the Constitution REQUIRES that every person charged with a crime be given DUE PROCESS and EQUAL PROTECTION under the law and it’s your job, defense attorney, to be sure that burden is met BY THE STATE. You also do the very best job you can because 1.) If this defendant is denied due process and equal protection, the precedent is set for any person, even those who may be falsely accused, to be denied those fundamental rights; 2.) If you don’t do this job you’ve been appointed to right, everyone may have to go through this process again based on the appeal process. Everyone means the victim, the victim’s family, the defendant’s family, law enforcement who investigated the crime, the community and the defendant; and 3.) If you don’t do this job, NO INDIGENT DEFENDANT COULD EVER BE CONVICTED OF A CRIME because an indigent defendant is ENTITLED by law to a court-appointed attorney.

Another perhaps less noble, but very real, reason you do this job is that failure to do it and do it right could result in being sued for malpractice and loss of your law license = your ability to provide for your family.

Which brings us to the realities for the defense attorney in an appointed case:

1.) You’re going to be paid approximately 1/5 of what your normal hourly rate is. But your overhead is going to stay the same. And the time required for that appointed case is going to mean there are cases (that would pay your normal rate) that you won’t be able to take while the appointed case is ongoing. Bottom line is you’re going to lose money. The reality is that you may come to the brink of financial ruin because of this one case and what it does to your cash flow situation and your client base in the community.

2.) People in the community who either don’t understand all this or who don’t give a flip or are just ignorant or mean are going to treat you and your family like crap. In the grocery line behind you and your two small children, they’re going to say that the defendant deserves public hanging and any attorney who represents that defendant deserves to be hung, too. They’re going to tell your five year old (at school, no less) that her daddy works for the Devil. Under the cover of night, they’re going to hang a gutted, black cat from your office door to “greet” your office staff the next morning.
3.) And when it’s over for the community, it’s not over for you. You get to go through the appeal process and even post-conviction relief. Post-conviction relief is where the defendant you represented gets another lawyer appointed whose job requires him/her to go through everything you did in representing that defendant with a fine tooth comb to try to find anything you did wrong or not well enough to use to say the defendant should get another trial because you didn’t do your job. So, in a sense, you go on trial.

But enough about the appointed defense attorney, what about the prosecution? The Constitution requires the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in every criminal case. The prosecution carries that burden. The defense does not have to prove anything except that the prosecution did not meet it’s burden of proof for the result (theoretically) to be a not guilty verdict. And long before a trial, that burden of proof is being weighed in the minds of the prosecution. If the prosecution believes that the evidence is not strong enough, or the witnesses are not credible enough, or that the process of testifying or going through the trial is too much to ask of the victim and would victimize the victim all over again, or that there were problems/mistakes made in the investigation or in handling the physical evidence that would make that evidence less convincing to a jury, or that there are any other number of reasons that a guilty plea to a plea agreement would better serve the community they represent or justice as a principle, then they negotiate and extend a plea offer to the defendant. None of that is an easy process for the prosecution. There are factors the prosecutor and law enforcement officers involved know that the general community does not know. So when you hear about a “plea deal”, don’t be so quick to judge the prosecution for making the offer. You don’t know what he/she knows.

Now about the tape. Have you seen the whole thing? I have. I’m not talking about the put together commercial video that’s going around. I’m talking about the full footage of the actual interview. It is an interview in which Hillary Clinton goes through a discussion of the role of the appointed defense attorney. Taken in context, her “laughter” (which is really just what I, myself, use as a “shaking my head, you can’t make this shit up” sarcastic chuckle) is in terms of what her client claimed had happened and the role in it all that she was forced to play as the appointed attorney required to do her job. There is no way anyone with sound mind and reasonable judgment could view that tape in its entirety and say she was laughing about what happened to that victim or about “getting off” the defendant.

In fact, Hillary Clinton didn’t get the defendant “off”. Her client accepted a plea offer made to him by the Prosecutor on the case. A prosecutor employed by the State of Arkansas hired by someone that the voters of Arkansas elected. Have you seen the recent interview with that prosecutor? I have. He says that Hillary Clinton did her job and did it well. He says there were problems with the investigative part of the case concerning mistakes made and mishandling of physical evidence. Those issues rest with law enforcement employed by the State of Arkansas hired by someone that the voters of Arkansas elected. So if you have a problem with the result on the case, you need to look to the voters of Arkansas.

You STILL don’t like the part Hillary Clinton had in this case? That’s understandable, you may have no frame of reference. But if ever, you (or someone you care about) stand accused of any crime, whether you’re guilty or innocent, you’ll get frame of reference real quick. And you’ll want someone who’ll do just what Hillary Clinton did in that case standing on that wall defending you and your constitutional rights.  [Emphasis added.]

Silly

From today’s  Abbreviated Pundit Round-up at Daily Kos (which I highly recommend)

What more can anyone say about the GOP nominee than this:

… perhaps the most eloquent condemnation of Trump came from one of the houses of state parliament in New South Wales, which, according to BuzzFeed Australia, just passed a unanimous motion to declare Donald Trump a “revolting slug.” The motion—a symbolic declaration of sorts with no real legislative heft—was tendered by a member of the Greens Party:

“I move that this house condemns the misogynistic, hateful comments made by…Mr Donald Trump, about women and minorities, including the remarks revealed over the weekend that clearly describe sexual assault…and agrees with those who have described Mr Trump as ‘a revolting slug’ unfit for public office,” the motion read.

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Two Things

Throughout that grueling 90 minutes, this was all I could think of as I watched that creep loom over Hillary Clinton and threaten her both with jail and with his constant lurking behind her.  Creepy.

Dial M For Murder (Google Image)

Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (Google Image)

 

Spoiler Alert:  Grace Kelly survived.

So did Hillary.

And I’m starting to think even Melania is gonna vote for Hillary.  Did you hear about what she wore to the debate last night?

I got the picture indirectly from Huffington Post.com

I got the picture indirectly from Huffington Post.com.  I personally couldn’t afford this blouse because it is truly priceless. 😉

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Tic Tacs are the Mint of All Evil

Yesterday, Tic Tac USA condemned Donald Trump’s use of their products to “score” with women.

tic-tacs

Today, I have my own Tic Tac crime to report.  I firmly believe that without Tic Tacs, Donald Trump would not be the scumbag he is today.

*****

An International Life of Crime

When we got Cooper in 1998, we owned a Toyota Picnic, a little six seat van not available in the U.S.  It was kind of a vomit van, actually, because it was well known to induce vomiting by anyone who traveled with us.  We kept a large supply of cleaning supplies with us at all times.

Anyway, I read an article about how, if you stop suddenly, while traveling at 60 mph, a 50 lb Springer Spaniel dog — exactly MY DOG will travel significantly faster as he flies through the car.  He will, in fact, become a projectile and might end up killing your kid.

Now I liked the dog a lot even at that early stage.  But I didn’t really relish the idea of the dog killing my kid to whom I was quite attached.  So, to scorn and jeers from John, I bought Cooper a special doggie seat belt that attached to the seatbelt of the seat behind the driver’s.

Cooper, however, did not approve.  I presume I hadn’t adequately educated him on the importance of self-restraint.  Because he ate his restraint.  In fact, he had started eating the seatbelt too when I realized what was happening and released the rebel.  He then happily sat wherever he wanted in the back of the vomit van.

Fortunately, Cooper hadn’t really done much damage to the seatbelt.  There were only a few bites taken out of it; it worked perfectly well and was not a safety hazard.

But when we moved across the border into France a couple of years later, well, we had to have the car inspected.  And the French car inspectors are famous for flunking Americans.  According to my husband, anyway.  I faced the villains alone.

Now, before you jump all over my husband for sending me into the lion’s den, well there is something you should know.  My husband cannot lie.  He cannot stretch the truth.  He cannot exaggerate.  Worse in this case, he would not have been able to restrain himself from explaining to the inspector that it really was not a safety issue.

Me, well, I’m different.  I grew up getting away with high crimes and misdemeanors.  I rarely got caught, and when I did, well, I got out of it. I’ve had practice.

So whenever we needed to deal with the French government, well, it was all up to me.

I drove to wherever it was, produced my paperwork, and waited my turn.  Truthfully, I was nervous.  I didn’t want to have to spend $1 zillion replacing a seat belt (car repairs in Switzerland/France are tres cher).  So I fidgeted with the container of mints in my pocket.  Tic Tacs.

When my turn came, I was outside with the inspector, chatting to him.  He was a young guy, and was nice and helpful as I tried to have a chatty conversation with him in my pigeon French. In fact, he couldn’t have been nicer to me.

Plus, the car was in great shape, clean and nearly perfectly maintained.  He found nothing wrong on the outside.  Then he opened the front passenger side, and tested the seat belt.  He closed the door and went to the rear passenger seat, and tested that one.

I started to sweat.  The chewed one was next.

He went around and opened the rear driver’s side door.  And that’s when I did it.

“Tic Tac?” I asked him, holding out the container.

“Oui, merci, madame,” he responded, closing that door without looking at the damaged seat belt.  He took a Tic Tac, and proceeded to inspect the driver’s seat belt.

My car passed inspection with flying colors.

And I continued to live a life of crime in France, just outside of Geneva for two more years.

*****

This is a replay of an old story. But How could I resist in light of the news about Donald Trump and how he was forced to be a cad and a boor and a truly disgusting human being.

Because of Tic Tacs.

tic-tacs-2Google Image

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A serious political piece.

Isn’t it funny how when you’re procrastinating about doing something, you get just the right push from behind to do it.  Or maybe in this case, the push came more from the Right.  Regardless.  It’s time.

I need to do a serious political post.

Earlier today, I got a comment on an old-ish post I wrote about Trump — It’s Just Not Funny Any More.   Zen Hiker wrote:

I have been amazed at all of the people who say they would never vote for Trump (for whatever reason) still rabidly follow and will vote for Hillary. And this is after everything that she has done, beginning with demonizing the women who accused her husband of sexual improprieties. Now I know that some of you on the left will start with the “He’s a sexist” etc. nonsense, but if you are truly honest with yourselves, you will admit that Hillary is no better than Trump and to continue the attack that he is running a hate filled campaign is just intellectually dishonest. Also, to say that Trump followers are uniformed and blindly follow him, what about (some) Hillary supporters? The bottom line is this-both sides are filled with people who blindly follow their candidate. Both sides have supporters who are not truly informed. And to those of you on the left and extreme left-Please get the idea that just because people don’t agree with every word you say it doesn’t make them a sexist, homophobe, islamaphobe etc. People just disagree with you. That is the beauty of the 1st amendment. I don’t have to agree with you. BTW-I am pretty much a Libertarian these days based on the fact that both of the candidates are not worth my vote.

There are two parts to the answer.  Why I’m voting FOR Hillary, and Why I would NEVER, EVER, EVER vote for Trump.

Why I’m voting FOR Hillary

I will admit, I came about my regard for Hillary slowly.  Still, I have never truly understood the hatred so many people feel towards her.  I disagree with some of the positions she’s taken (Iraq, for example).  But she is smart, thoughtful, and she can change her mind.

She’s a Democrat, as am I.  We both believe in using government for public purposes.  That folks shouldn’t be left just on their own.  That we as a society has responsibilities to children, to the poor, to the disabled.  That a civilized society takes care of the less fortunate among us.

Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime studying law and government, and public service has truly been her life.  She has brokered international agreements — fostered peace.  Brought different sides together across the world, and across the aisle as a Senator.  She is the type of public servant, in fact, that makes me hearken back to the old days, before Ronald Reagan created the scorn for government service with his “The Government IS the Problem” comment.  We need thoughtful, smart people to work in government as a calling.  Hillary Clinton has met that call admirably.  I have no doubt she will continue to do so.

She is imperfect.  She makes mistakes.  But she is strong, thinks problems through, makes decisions based on facts; she doesn’t shoot from the hip.  Government decisions can be made over a long process, or they can be required in an instant.  She is suited to making decisions either way — in part because she has spent a lifetime learning.

I am someone who understands government — I’ve worked with it and watched just how difficult it is to pass legislation (and how an ability to compromise is vital).  I know how complex  the regulation of the hundreds of industries that do business in the US is — regulations that keep all of us every single day of our lives whether by the standards set for food, safety standards for machinery in factories, or standards for airplanes and trains.

I want somebody as president who is smart and understands how to examine a problem, analyze it, look at options and come up with solutions based on reality.  Someone who makes decisions based on science, or engineering, or whatever is necessary for that particular problem.

I recently discovered the blog of an old friend of mine, where she was challenged to find the reasons to vote FOR Hillary, instead of just voting AGAINST Trump.  She started a blog and lists one reason she’s FOR Hillary every day.

 

As I scrolled through her blog, I realized that my old friend had made this post significantly easier, since Karen listed many of the same reasons I am supporting Hillary.

Karen has various post that illustrate and provide references for other reasons she has for voting FOR Hillary.  They include post elaborating on how Hillary Clinton has worked hard and effectively for her beliefs — particularly those geared toward children.  She has unceasingly promoted healthcare and education for children, particularly those in need due to poverty and/or disability.  She has an even temperament — it’s highly unlikely that foreign sailors flipping the bird at US sailors would result in a war, for example.  She has shown grace under pressure — whether that be sexism, political harassment (can you say Benghazi?) or what I believe is a lack of balance in comparing anything Hillary does to anything someone else does (the discrepancy in the way the Clinton and Trump Foundations are viewed makes me wonder how I have any hair left on my head).

The list of Hillary Clinton’s admirable traits is long.  It’s just that few of us bother to re-familiarize ourselves with them.  And we keep hearing nothing but the negative in the press.

I was originally against Hillary Clinton for the simple (and prescient) reason that I didn’t want to rehash the same damn scandals all over again, not because I didn’t like her or her policies.  I just had to re-look at her policies, and how she decided upon them.  I’ve been doing that for a year now.

Hillary Clinton is a flawed candidate, for sure.  But which candidate isn’t?  Certainly no one running today.

Why I would NEVER, EVER, EVER vote for Trump

In the late 1980s, the news that Trump was stiffing contractors at his NJ casinos hit the news just as my friend Elizabeth was visiting John and I.  It turned out that Elizabeth’s father was one of the cheated contractors.  He had worked at the casino nearly exclusively for more than a year.  I learned early on that “trust” was unlikely to be a word I’d use in connection with a man who would do that.

I could recite a litany of the horrible, dishonorable things that Donald Trump has done.  In fact, I’ve written dozens of posts about him.

Even if I didn’t think he was:

  • A bigot (I do think he’s a bigot),
  • A liar (I do think he’s a liar)
  • A cheat (ditto)
  • A fraud (uh huh)
  • A sexist (as sure as he breathes)
  • Willing to say anything that pops into his little head (ditto)
  • A coward and a bully (oh yeah, he is that alright)
  • A con man (no doubt in my mind)
  • A crook who feeds on people who can least afford to believe him (hey, get your degree at Trump University!
  • So thin skinned that a slight by a foreign leader or even a foreign sailor might mean a war .

Even if I liked his “ideas” (can they really be called ideas if there is no meat on the bones?), even if I agreed with everything he claims to believe, I would be against Donald Trump.

Trump hasn’t got a single iota of experience in government or public service.  Not a shred.  I don’t believe that one should get their feet wet with government experience by running the country.

Trump’s knowledge and understanding of laws and government and regulation consists entirely of circumventing it.  We are a nation of laws.  Anybody who thinks this con-man is going to follow our laws and the constitution (which I believe, like Mr. Khan that he hasn’t read or at least hasn’t understood), is a fool.

Electing Donald Trump would beg the question:  If we are not following our laws and our constitution, are we still Americans?

Moreover, Trump has no interest in learning anything.  He doesn’t think he needs to learn any more — doesn’t need to listen to the generals, for example.  Well, you know what?  Donald Trump is not an expert in anything.  If, god help us, he becomes president, he cannot do everything alone.  He needs to understand the importance and value of the experts who have spent their lives studying their specialties.

What about 3rd Party Candidates?

I voted for John Anderson in 1980.  I’m responsible for inflicting Ronald Reagan on all of us.  I will be sorry until I die, believe me.

carter-anderson-reagan

Seemed like a good idea at the time.  Sorry world.  Very sorry.  (Google Image, of course)

Ask anybody who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States in 2016.  If you look at history, you can see that third party candidates don’t get elected.  Ever.  There is ZERO chance that Gary Johnson or Jill Stein will get elected.  Sorry, but it’s a combination of history and math and common sense.  Ain’t gonna happen, no matter how many stars you wish upon.

Maybe some day, a third party candidate will have a chance.  But this is not the election where that will happen.  More importantly, votes for either will count towards Donald Trump.

Elections Matter.  Choose wisely.

choose-wisely

If you don’t know where this image came from, you are an alien and Donald Trump will have somebody eat your intestines.

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Relax! It’ll all work out just fine.

Really.  I just read that you don’t have to worry about the Orange Peril* having the nuclear codes!

Honest!

Long-Term Health Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs Not as Dire as Public Perceives

The detonation of atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 resulted in horrific casualties and devastation. The long-term effects of radiation exposure also increased cancer rates in the survivors. But public perception of the rates of cancer and birth defects among survivors and their children is in fact greatly exaggerated when compared to the reality revealed by comprehensive follow-up studies. The reasons for this mismatch and its implications are discussed in a Perspectives review of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivor studies published in the August issue of the journal GENETICS, a publication of the Genetics Society of America. [My bad and my bold.]

I mean you and I will probably die, and our surviving children and grandchildren will have high rates of cancer and birth defects, but not nearly as bad as we thought, though.

You’re welcome.

 

*Credit for the perfect Trumpian moniker goes to Barb Taub.

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And As the Day Surely Follows Night …

NRA PUTS $3 MILLION INTO ADS FOR TRUMP RIGHT AFTER HIS “SECOND AMENDMENT” COMMENT.

Because obviously nothing is more important than guns.  Certainly not people.  Especially if they disagree with you.

Photo credit photobucket.com and my friend Bao who sent it to me.

Photo credit photobucket.com and my friend Bao who sent it to me.

Nothing.

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