Tag Archives: Blogging

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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Annual Tune’s Up

It’s that time again.  I’m gonna make you listen to this song:

Yeah, you guessed it.  It’s my birthday.  I am, not surprisingly since I have been blogging under the stupid blog name FiftyFourAndAHalf for 5 and a half years, well, I’m older today.

Old.  Probably older than you; probably shorter than you, too.  Life just ain’t fair.  I’m older and shorter than people I can’t even see…

Today is my 60th birthday.  I’m not a big fan of my birthday, for reasons you can find here:  Still, it’s a day.  A decade.  Something to celebrate with my husband and son and good food and cake.  Gotta have cake.

And it’s something that is way better than the alternative.  Yup.  Way better.

To the handful who have been along with me since I was, actually 54-1/2, thanks for all the times we’ve laughed and cried together.  To my  new blogging buddies, welcome again.  Thank you for stopping by; I hope you stick around.

Blogging has been a wonderfully fun way to spend time over these last 5-1/2 years, and counting, cause I’m not planning to stop.  I see no reason to stop.

Because people my age are getting gross. So what else can we do?  :/

Love you guys!

 

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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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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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Deja Boo-Hoo

Exactly five and a half years ago tonight, I was in a bit of a snit.  A tiff.  I was, in a word, miffed.

The result of those feelings was this blog.  And in fact, it was the reason* for the stupid name.  And my first post where I wrote:

Because I am fifty-four-and-a-half years old, the world is against me.   The world would be treating me just fine, thank you very much, if I were just six months older.  Read the news lately?  Some folks in Congress want to change Medicare — starting with me.  Starting with folks currently under 55.  Am I the only fifty-four-and-a-half-year-old who is seriously pissed off about this?

Well today, I’m no longer 54-1/2.  But I am not in  a snit.  A tiff.  And I’m no longer miffed.

Today I’m mad as hell.

Did you see that Donald of the small hands plans to put this guy in charge of Health and Human Services?  Congressman Tom Price (R (Suprise!)-GA).

tom-price

Photo Image Credit: Gage Skidmore

Folks are lining up in opposition to Price.  Not only will he piss me off by trying (and god help us, failing) to derail Medicare, but as the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he is the author of the House bills to repeal Obamacare.  He is adamantly opposed to abortion in all cases.  He opposes including provisions in Medicaid to permit low income women to afford birth control.  He’s probably in favor of hangers.

Here is Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly’s comment opposing Price:

Tom Price has led the charge to privatize Medicare, and for this reason, I cannot support his nomination. I am ready to work with anyone who wants to improve access to quality health care for Hoosier families and seniors, but the nomination of Tom Price would put us on a direct path to end Medicare as we know it, which would raise health care costs and break a fundamental promise to seniors. I have fought to protect Medicare, and I will continue to oppose efforts to privatize Medicare or turn it into a voucher program.

I, personally, will do what I can.  Because I really do fear that before long, this is what Trumpcare will look like:

You know I got this from Father Kane at the Last of the Millenniums, don’t you?

*****

*Shortly after starting the blog with the stupid name, I realized that 54-1/2 was the average age my two late sisters reached.  I kept the name because, as the “sick” member of the family, it reminds me that really, every day is a gift.

I’ll continue to believe that.  Until, of course, I am an old Crohn’s patient whose Medicare has been taken away.  Then I will — literally — poop all over Congress and Donald Trump.

poop-4Google Image

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Sometimes, I’m Passive Aggressive

Did you hear about Trump’s kerfuffle with NBC news?  At the meeting King Donald held last week with the heads of the networks, Trump harangued NBC News for using unflattering pictures of him.  Like this picture of him.  Which he hates.

donald-trump-dont-use-this-picture-he-hates-it

Photo credit:  BoingBoing.com

As they say at Boingboing.com,

Trump is angry at NBC News for using this photo of him, so please don’t use this enhanced, enlarged version of it for anything.

Please.  Don’t use this picture whenever you need a picture of our new Fearless Leader.  Pretty please with sugar on top.

Oh, and please don’t review the latest, greatest Christmas Ornament that you’re sure to want for your Christmas tree:

make-america-great-again-ornament

Image Credit:  Amazon.com

And whatever you do, don’t read the product reviews.  Or leave a review of your own.  Because I think the good ones are all taken.

 

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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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