Tag Archives: Pushing Buttons

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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Shout About The Clinton Foundation From the Rooftops!

From 1999 to 2002, I was saving the world.

That’s how I described my job at the World Health Organization, anyway.  And while it was modestly said tongue in cheek, I honestly did/do feel like that’s exactly what I was doing.  Saving the World.  And it made me proud.  I’m still proud, even though most of what I did was email folks who were actually saving the world.

In the early 2000s, Africa was a public health nightmare .  HIV/AIDs was spreading and with it the ancient scourge of Tuberculosis, which was hoped to be contained and ultimately was instead increasing.  That’s because about 40% of HIV patients have latent TB, which develops into full blown TB, a highly contagious airborne infection.  One that since my day has become more drug resistant.

Drugs for HIV — anti-retrovirals, were expensive.  Prohibitively so for the people who needed them most.  The infrastructure for getting the drugs where they were most needed often didn’t exist.  People were dying.  Lots of people were dying because of disease and the inability to get and/or afford medicine.

I left WHO just as the Clinton Foundation started saving that part of the world.

The Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) worked with existing groups including the WHO and the U.N.  But it brought clout to a field that was mired in bureaucracy.  It cut to the chase.  And it solved many of the problems of drug affordability and delivery.  They negotiated incredible price deals.  They worked on getting drugs to the people who needed it most, beginning with HIV-positive mothers because 90% of them transmitted HIV to their newborn babies.

The Clinton Foundation is everything American outreach should be.  It should not be shuttered.  We Americans should be shouting about the Clinton Foundation as a beacon of light.  Exactly the way we all want the US to be viewed in the world.  We Americans do good work.  Good Works.

The Clinton Foundation is saving the world.

What is President Bill Clinton’s successor doing?

 

Google Image

Google Image

 

George W Bush sure as hell ain’t saving the world.

 

 

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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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It Actually IS a GOP Sh*t Storm

We all knew it would be a shit storm when the GOP got together to nominate Donald Trump in Cleveland.  But even I didn’t think it would actually turn into a a convention hall where folks would be running for the bathrooms instead of the exits.

Apparently, though, they are.  Because the GOP doesn’t just have a shitty candidate, they have norovirus:

The virus can be caught through contact from infected people or surfaces, or through consuming contaminated food or water. Norovirus inflames the stomach, the intestines, or both. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.  (Washington Post)

 

Of course, their candidate has been producing shit from his mouth and making the rest of the world vomit and crap their pants in fear since he announced he was running last year.  And then again each time he speaks.

But with the norovirus taking hold of the delegates, I’m wondering if Mr. Trump needs a new form of transportation to make sure those delegates fill the convention hall to listen to the crazy line up of misogynists, racists and fear mongers.

Don’t you think that they should be riding in this fine vehicle:

Stool bus from father kane

Picture Credit:  Father Kaine’s The Last of the Milleniums.  Where else?  He finds the best things.

Elections matter. 

Register. 

Vote. 

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Generally Speaking Redux

Maybe I’ve mentioned once or twice that my brother, Fred, was a wonderful big brother.  I really don’t exaggerate.  If  you could have made up the perfect big brother, it would have been Fred.  But you probably would have given him a better name.

Fred is 3 years older than me.  And he played with me all the time.  He didn’t beat me up.  He wasn’t mean.  He let me tag along wherever he went.

He actually seemed to enjoy my company, too.  Or at least, it never occurred to me that he might not be enjoying it.  Perhaps I was late in picking up some social clues.  Anyway, I can honestly not remember Fred ever hurting me, or setting me up to fail, or doing any mean big brother things to me.

He was my hero.  When we tucked towels into our jammies and jumped off the back of the couch, I was not just pretending Fred was Superman.  He was Superman.  Of course I also thought that our dog, Tip, was SuperDog when we called him “Kripto,” tucked a dishtowel into his collar and pushed him off the back of the couch.

It was during the late 1950s and early 60s; we saw Westerns on TV and in the movies — The Lone Ranger, Branded, How the West Was Won, and more.  There were a lot of shoot outs at our house, too, because that’s what we played most of the time.   Fred invented great games for us.  Cowboys and Indians, gun fights, sheriff and posse.

Fred was always the hero.  Me?

I was the bad guy who got outgunned and had to keel over and die.

I was the outlaw brought to justice by the handsome sheriff.

I was the squaw who had to skin and cook the deer.

I always lost.

I felt good that at least I had a better part than Tip.  Tip was the deer, and Fred and I would chase him around pretending to shoot him with arrows.  Fred and his friends once caught Tip and tied him onto our broom and carried him Indian-style, to roast over our pretend fire.  Tip escaped and didn’t want to play Indian for a week or so.  We did not eat him.

Tip was much less cooperative for some reason. (Google Image)

Tip was much less cooperative for some reason. (Google Image)

Losing wasn’t a condition for Fred to play with me, but it was reality.  Fred always won.  He was always first, fastest, bravest.  He was always the hero.

Fred’s pretend horse, Thunder, was faster than my horse, Lightning, even after Fred discovered that in real life lightning comes first.  Fred showed me pictures of lightning in “the big dictionary” – a huge reference book we loved to look at.  It had the coolest pictures and lots of words we couldn’t read.  If something was in the big dictionary, it was fact.  Period.  “In real life,” Fred said, pointing to a picture of a scary bolt in a stormy sky, “Lightning is faster than thunder.  But not with horses.”

I really didn’t mind.  If Fred’s horse was slightly faster than mine, that was OK.  We were a team.

But one day when Fred wanted to play Cowboys and Indians, I’d had enough of losing.  Maybe I was growing up.

“I wanna be the cowboy,” I insisted.  “You always get to be the cowboy.  I always get shot.”

“OK,” Fred said.  He didn’t argue or try to convince me to be the Indian.  I should have been suspicious.  But I’ve always trusted Fred completely.  I knew he would never be mean to me.

“OK,” said Fred, again, thinking up a new game.  “You can be a General!  I’ll be an Indian, ummmm, I’ll be called Crazy Horse.”

“OK!” I said, excitedly.  A General!  I wasn’t just cowboy.  I was gonna be a general!

I blew my bugle, called my troops to arms.  My imaginary troops and I rode off on our stallions to fight the Injuns.

I blew my bugle again and my (pretend) troops surrounded me.  We heard Indian war whoops from Fred and his Indian braves.  Fred/Crazy Horse and his braves came at me, surrounding me and my men on all sides.  But I wasn’t worried.  I was a general.  And even at that age, I knew that the cowboys always win.

And then Fred shot me.

I did not flinch.  I did not fall.  I did not succumb to my wounds.  I screamed bloody murder:

“I’m the cowboy!  You can’t shoot me!

I’M THE GENERAL!

Fred calmed me down and took me by the hand over to the big dictionary.  He turned the pages and showed me a picture of a general in a cowboy hat with blond curls.  He looked just like me.  Except for the mustache (mine grew in many years later).

Thanks a lot, Google

Thanks a lot, Google

George Armstrong Custer.

“That’s General Custer,” Fred said.  “Crazy Horse killed him.  Or Sitting Bull did.  Some Indian killed him at the battle of Little Bighorn.  The Sioux Indians surrounded General Custer and his men and killed them.”

I didn't have a chance

I didn’t have a chance

If it was in a book, in the big dictionary, well then,  I had to die.  It was right there in black and white with a color picture.  It was my fate.

We went back over to the battlefield (the front hall) and started the battle again.  Again, I blew my bugle and rallied my troops into a circle around me.  Again, the Indians pressed forward, surrounded us.

Again, General Custer got shot.  And this time he/I was brave.  I clutched my heart, tossed my curls and fell dead.

*     *     *

I owe my devotion to the underdog and my tendency to look everything up to my big brother, who is still wonderful.  Today, I will be visiting my big brother/hero, coincidentally, so I decided to re-run this post.

Because today,  June 25th is the 140th Anniversary of the Battle of Little Bighorn.

And speaking once more as General Custer, I deserved exactly what I got.

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Vote Out These Cowards

You’ve no doubt heard the news from last night.

The GOP voted down four different measures designed to protect you and me.  Designed to keep folks on the terror watch list from getting assault weapons.  They did this in spite of the fact that:

A new poll from CNN shows 92 percent of Americans support expanded background checks and 85 percent support preventing those on terror watch lists from buying guns. As we’ll explain in the post below, though, none of the below proposals aimed at these things are likely to pass. (Washington Post — https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/20/the-senate-will-vote-on-4-gun-control-proposals-monday-heres-everything-you-need-to-know/Emphasis added.

Senator Chris Murphy, who I am proud to say represents my home state of Connecticut in the Senate said the following:

“We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS,” [Senator Chris] Murphy said, using an alternative term for the Islamic State militant group. “That’s what they’ve decided to do. ISIS has decided that the assault weapon is the new airplane, and Republicans, in refusing to close the terror gap, refusing to pass bans on assault weapons, are allowing these weapons to get in the hands of potential lone-wolf attackers. We’ve got to make this connection and make it in very stark terms.” (Daily Kos — http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/6/21/1540914/–ISIS-has-decided-that-the-assault-weapon-is-the-new-airplane).

Senator Murphy made clear that he will look to November, to make sure that those opposed to gun sanity don’t return to the Senate.  That’s just what I’m going to do.  So here’s where to start:

All Democrats favored the Democratic version of a bill to restrict assault weapons from folks on the no fly list except the following:  Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.  ALL Republicans voted against sensible gun laws except Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)  who backed it; he voted with Democrats on all four measures.

Elections matter.

Vote the bastards who refuse to protect us

OUT OF THE U.S. SENATE

Photo from NBC News

Senator Murphy, talking about Dylan, one of the 20 6 year olds who died in Sandy Hook, CT.  Photo from NBC News

 

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Eat Your Heart Out, Lip-O-suction!

Like many Americans, I’m overweight.  Mostly I’ve accepted what I look like.  At least I do until someone pulls out a camera.  Then I use my handy line:

Do I have time for liposuction?”

Sadly, there’s never enough time for liposuction; they usually take the picture anyway.  And when I see it I wish someone would suck away the extra bits and bobs.

Few things make me laugh harder than the idea of liposuction.  I first learned of it in 1986.  I was in the reception area of one of my then-clients, chatting with his secretary, Cindy, a constant dieter, when she announced:

“Did you know you can vacuum your fat away?” Cindy told me.  “It’s a thing called Lip-O-Suction.  They stick this little gizmo in your fat lumps and vacuum the fat out!”

“Why diet when you can vacuum!” I replied.  Me and Cindy laughed and laughed.  You just can’t tell me it isn’t a hilarious image:  Women lining up in front of the Hoover before a date.

liposuction 2

Eureka!  Or is it Hoover?  Sllluuuppppppp Google Image

Now, though, there is a weight loss gadget that makes even liposuction pale in silliness.  Because folks have been busily inventing even sillier ways to get folks thin.  Or thinner.  Or, to totally disrupt their GI tract.

Introducing The Aspire Assist.  A personal stomach pump.  Yeah, I thought they were making it up, too.

Stomach pump

Photo credit:  Aspirebariatrics.com.  But I found it at the article referenced below

The Aspire Assist helps with weight loss because it empties up to 30% of the contents of your stomach into the toilet.  Before it reaches the inside or the outside of your butt.  Before that cherry pie becomes love handles.  Before those abs look more like a case than a six-pack.

According to this article here’s how it works.

Patients have a tube inserted into their stomachs then threaded out through an incision in the abdomen and capped with a poker chip–sized “Skin Port” valve.[…]  Twenty minutes after eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the patient attaches a handheld device to the Skin Port and empties 30 percent of the contents of his or her stomach into the toilet.

Twenty minutes is enough time for your brain to be convinced that you are full, but not enough time for your stomach to digest the food, the inventors say, and that means 30 percent of the calories from your meal magically disappear.

Sounds too good to be true, ammirite?  You can have all the benefits of bulimia without puking!  Whoo-hoo!

Of course, as a fake medical professional, I have questions:

  • Can the Aspire Assist discriminate?  I mean, can it choose to pull the ice cream out and leave the broccoli to work its way through my GI tract system?
  • Can it pull the pasta but leave the protein and the vitamins?
  • Can it please suck out the wine I drink so that I can be less of a cheap date?

Go ahead.  I dare you to watch this.  (I didn’t.  Ewwwwww.)

I bet you didn’t play that video.  I’ll also wager you’re not gonna get an Aspire Assist.  anybody who has read this far is of above-average intelligence and has a seriously awesome sense of humor.

Some funny things should be enjoyed but definitely not be taken to heart.  Or to stomach.  Or drained into the toilet.

And some are just too weird to believe.

 

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