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America's Proclivity For Excess

Spotted a great news article the other day in USA Today that was not overtly political and I wanted to share it.  But first, now that the mid-term elections are past us I'm trying to remain positive & only think of the Donald as our most recent "past-president" ... so I've archived my previous year's worth of factual Trump bashing (see links to right).

The USA Today article that caught my eye has to do with a fellow minimalist - someone who values simplicity in her life and is sharing ideas with the world thru subtle action.  Meet Julia Mooney a "New Jersey teacher [who] wears same dress for 100 days to promote sustainable fashion" ... the 34-year-old art teacher "has vowed to wear the dress every day she teaches for the first 100 days of the school year. Mooney is trying to raise awareness of what she calls a growing “culture of excess” in America that has filled our closets to overflowing with throwaway garments." 

Mooney says she hoped to spark discussion among her students, friends and co-workers "about the peer pressure children face to buy the latest fashions and the sustainability of their “consume, consume, consume” habits. She has found herself at the center of a wider national conversation around what is known as sustainable fashion."

Good for her!  Louise & I try to be frugal in so many ways too ... like buying high quality goods that are made to last.  Decades ago a Royal Oak fashion shop referred to me as "the sweater guy" because their shop was my go-to place for holiday gifts for Louise. The sweaters I got her are all handmade from natural fibers and still are part of her seasonal wardrobe rotation.  The initial investment may have been significant but given how long these gorgeous sweaters have lasted they're actually inexpensive in the long run.  Our disposable society just can't relate.  Sad.  Anyhow...it's a cute story; I hope you click the links above and read it for yourself.

posted 11.28.18

Trump Bashing; or, More Factual Reasons Why Trump Should Not Be President:
Wishing Obama Could Still Be President

Why Are Voters Hood-winked?

Donald isn't the only Evil-doer!

Block Kavanaugh

Lindsey's Rant

More Dirt On Brett

Pay Up, Donald

Spineless GOP

Trump's Dinky Base

The Donald's 1st Year

Tariffs Hurting American Economy

Trump Pays Porn-Star Hush Money

he’s still the most popular Republican

Russian Connection

Our Twitter President

GOP Performance @ FBI Hearings - What A Disgrace!

Actually, Donald, America has been losing coal jobs for nearly a century

Voters Get To Share The Blame

Immigration Debate

Other fairly interesting thoughts by Mike:
Parade of Projects

Going GEO

Zoom!

What sweet delight a quiet life affords

Bombs Away

Turkey Time

Choice

Need more pie

Made In The USA

He Lacked

About Mike

Mixed Reaction to Mid-Term Elections

My personal assessment of the recent Mid-Term Elections is mixed. I was hoping for that Blue Wave and saw some evidence in select pockets of our state and federal government, but also too many shameful examples of racism and hate that has been present ever since America voted not once but twice for Barack Obama. I had hopes after his 8-years in office cleaning up the last series of messes created by Republicans. I had hopes that the process would continue of cleaning up our environment, reducing threats of nuclear war, improving our voting laws and eliminating gerrymandered voting districts created by Republicans following the 2010 census. I had hopes that social movements such as Black Lives Matter and Me Too would have a positive and lasting impact on our society.

Sadly, the racist inclinations that surfaced in the 2016 election have simply continued...and in many ways gotten worse under Donald Trump's leadership. Unnecessary tariffs are causing job losses in many sectors. Hit especially hard are farmers and the manufacturing industries that helped fuel the Donald's electoral college win. Racism and nationalism are at the core of the political divide in America today. If you doubt me perhaps you can explain how and why Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Mike Espy in the Mississippi Senate race.  Republican voters in Mississippi may not be thrilled with Hyde-Smith as a candidate, but they are coalescing behind her because her opponent is Black. "...it's about our conservative values," Hyde-Smith said at her victory celebration in Jackson, MS. Why were voters NOT outraged by the backlash to her racially-tinged comments: "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"? And why were voters NOT turned-off by Hyde-Smith when she said that making voting more difficult is a "great idea." Why the hell not, indeed? "She's a Republican, I guess," said Jerry Smith, a grandfather and longtime Mississippi resident, about why he was voting for Hyde-Smith...as if that explanation was valid.  (It is not.)

Republican voters also re-elected two members of the House who have pending federal indictments: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) charged with securities fraud, and Duncan Hunter (R-CA) charged embezzling a quarter of a million dollars from his political campaign funds. The 60 counts against Hunter assert the Congressman and his wife spent campaign dollars on personal expenses like vacations, clothes, and theatre tickets.  Both of these creepy guys, Collins & Hunter, were just re-elected in the mid-terms by Republican voters.  As was Jim Jordan (R-OH) shown above left, even though he's been charged with ignoring sexual assault charges while he worked as a wrestling coach at Ohio State Univ.  Trey Gowdy, above center, opted to not run for re-election after embarrassing himself as Chair of the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) now serves as our nation's Secretary of State which is quite a joke given his work while in Congress on the same House committee that Gowdy chaired. Pompeo was also famous for mistakenly referred to President Obama as an "evil Muslim communist." These people are just flat-out pathetic, as are the voters who keep them in office.

Personally, I am pleased that virtually everything & everyone I voted for won. The recreational pot referendum in Michigan passed by a wide margin as did 2 other referendums designed to reduce voter suppression tactics deployed by Republicans like gerrymandered voting districts and voting rules impacting same-day registration and absentee ballots.  The nation should follow Michigan's lead on all three initiatives.  Thankfully Michigan voters reversed the narrow Thump vote record from 2016 and rejected Republican candidates for Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General ... posts won soundly by Democratic women!  Sadly, the state legislature remains in control of Republicans which makes no sense.  Democratic voters in Michigan out numbered Republicans 56.2% to 43.8% ... so why don't Democrats control the legislature?  Answer: gerrymandered voting districts ... which the newly created Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will get a chance to resolve. Hopefully in 2020 the voter trend to toss-out the GOP will continue.

Sure Democrats gained 40 seats in the House of Representatives with one seat still being contested (as of 11/30/18) but they did not regain control of the Senate. Why is that?  Why any Republican got more than a handful of votes is beyond me.  Democrats deserved to sweep the nation with positive voter margins of 95% or more.  I recently read a noteworthy quote from science observer Bill Nye that I think is appropriate here: "People disagree with me on this, and the reason they disagree is because they are wrong."  The facts support my position (see substantiating articles linked along the right-hand column of this webpage); the nation has gotten ugly and evil, and those responsible need to be voted out of office ... like Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and most all Republicans.

posted 11.07.18, updated 12.01.18

Updated Nov. 6, 2018

In 649 days, President Trump has made 6,420 false or misleading claims

Uninformed American voters are the reason the world has to put up with Trump

Major independent news analysts have concluded President Trump averages more than 9.8 misstatements or mangled truths every day.  And to make matters worse, Trump often repeats the same false statements dozens of times - and often more frequently than that.  Said another way: The Donald lies on average, NINE times daily.  Notice how the graph depicts how Trump's daily misstatements and lies are increasing?  So far the most outrageous single day in his brief term of office was September 7th (2018) when Donald Trump lied 128 times in a single day.  How can his base...roughly 35% of American voters, still support this lying disruptive egotistical jerk?   I realize his supporters will not bother to read the details at the link below, but it may be handy to bookmark the article below and be prepared to counter-punch your weird & argumentative Uncle Harry or your equally mindless Aunt Jane with something they rarely are confronted with: FACTS

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/?utm_term=.f1c1b5f1bb1c

Originally posted by Mike on 11.08.17.   Since then we have multiple Trump officials pleading guilty to crimes, and many more indicted - with dozens of Trump officials testifying before Congressional and/or FBI investigative panels. Even his own personal lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen pled guilty to criminal charges & indictments, both Federal & state.  This is by far the most shameful period of American politics in our nation's history easily surpassing Watergate & topping the national disgrace caused by 8-yrs of George W. Bush (2 unfunded wars, 2 unfunded tax cuts, + unfunded Medicare drug benefits). 

The voice of reason & sanity

And it is good seeing you, Mr. President!  One day recently I sat down for lunch, flipped on the tube to see what in the world is going on...and couldn't believe my lucky stars that Barack Obama was delivering a speech at the  University of  Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  I'm familiar with the tradition that former Presidents maintain a low-profile following their service to the country...as Mr. Obama has been largely silent the past year-and-a-half.  But given the crazy stuff that the Donald has done and said since moving into the White House the majority of Americans - Democrats, Independents, and Republicans largely welcomed Mr. Obama's entry back to our political scene as mid-term elections loom.  (Okay, I realize some 39% of Americans representing the shrinking GOP base, was probably not interested...preferring to wallow in the angry hateful white supremacist inspired nonsense that is the Trump presidency.)  Unlike 2016 and most all mid-term elections during my lifetime, America needs voters to turn out and do their civic duty: vote This is no time to take a pass or to demonstrate your reluctance to get involved and participate.

The speech was nearly half over...but I pressed "record" on the DVR to preserve what I could for Louise (who was off on a nature hike with a good friend).  Besides, I've come to learn that vital public events like this are captured digitally and shared with the world via the internet...that way, Louise & I could watch what we missed on the internet later...and then replay the 2nd half on the large screen.  So I had not heard the President's opening line about flying into Urbana, IL and enjoying the sight of corn fields below as his plane descended & landed.  But sure am glad I caught it on the re-run.  If you missed the speech, I suggest you watch it or read it (or both) and then pass it on for others to experience - there are 2 handy links below...while you're at it, why not share 'em with your representatives in Washington?  You'll be glad you did. 

speech video:  https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/09/07/barack-obama-full-speech-urbana-illinois-sept-2018-vpx.cnn
speech text: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/09/07/president-barack-obamas-speech-transcript-slamming-trump/1225554002/

posted 09.07.18

 
Keeping Us Sane

If you've followed this website you know we're having a fun summer digging into my Dad's childhood baseball card collection...which prompted us to dust off the Ken Burns Baseball documentary series from 1994...trouble is we've gotten hooked on high definition TV viewing ... and our old collection is VHS format ... so we upgraded to a used digital CD set.  We've also brought out our beloved CD collection of the West Wing and find ourselves longing for political leaders who were good, decent, noble and thoughtful.  A lot of similarities to the Obama administration...virtually nothing like the GW Bush or Trump years.  Okay, I'll admit it, the Donald has made me consider softening my opinion about W...but then I re-read the list of criminals from his administration...eleven of 'em and I just shake my head. [read more]  

And just think: the Donald still has rallies to this day where the audience shout "lock her up" in unison...even after his attorney pled guilty, and his former campaign mgr was found guilty of eight felony counts.  Do we need to remind voters that no one from the Obama administration was convicted of a crime???  (And no, I don't count David Petraeus...he has a Bush hold-over.)  Tell me again why anyone in their right mind votes Republican these days. 

Trump Defeated !

If you were watching the news, you noticed.  Presidents Putin and Trump emerged from their 2-hour "secret summit" and enter the public press conference sporting dramatically different expressions and body language.  As you can see from my collection of news photos that it looks as if the Donald has been spanked, much of the bluster and arrogance beaten out of him.  Putin was smiling, standing tall & proud while Mr. Trump, shoulders slouched, eyes puffy, expression stoic, shows signs he's been defeated in their 2-hours of private "talks".  He seemed to know that he dare not show any disrespect to President Putin...and no one has any evidence that this is not true.  There was no one other than an interpreter present in these meetings who can testify as to the topics or discussion that transpired, though many suspect the Russians actually recorded the event.  The media, and general public were outraged the way Trump bashed NATO the previous weekend, and deferred to Putin at every turn at their "secret summit".  Even a handful of Republicans expressed concern - but already their voices have gone silent.

And, the chances are most folks in America did not notice or pay attention.  The majority of Americans were not watching.  Only a fraction of our adult population knows what the heck is going on - they have tuned-out and gradually have stopped following the news.  Nearly 40% of registered voters skipped the 2016 election, and 66 percent of Facebook users get news there, according to a recent Pew Research study. Seriously, they get their news from social media???  Think about that.  If you fall into that camp you're not alone - some 62 percent of American adults get their news from social media.  Why is that?  Is it because it's just so darned difficult to watch a regular news broadcast or read a newspaper?  Can you name more than one member of Trump's cabinet?  Do you even know the name of your representatives in Congress?  Odds are you can't...or your neighbors can't.  Have you any clue what the "Steele Dossier" is or what it's about?  Have you bothered to read the indictments of the 12 Russians accused of meddling in our 2016 election?  If not, why not Google it now - find a news source and sit down and read...it's only 29-pgs.  (Ok, for those who do want to read the document but are concerned they may not be able to find it, here's a link to the Time magazine website - you can read it there.)  These are dangerous times in America folks...you need to put the "smart phone" down and pick-up a paper...and read ! 

 
A Little Kindness Makes A World Of Difference

Documentary films typically have a short run at our local movie theatre, so when we read that a new film about Fred Rogers, Won't You Be My Neighbor, was in town we figured we'd better not delay.  So glad we followed our own sage instincts and saw the film - it's fabulous!  In fact, we like it so much we think when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts votes for the next Oscar awards they can save a lot of time & energy and just give 'em all to Won't You Be My Neighbor.  Best picture, best documentary, best direction, acting, sound, music, etc ... hands-down. 

Boys & girls...it is a sensational film. Made us choke-up a bit & shed a tear, and enjoy many laughs & smiles. Loved the history of the program and how the film maker ridiculed political conservatives for they way they dissed Fred Rogers, PBS, and the program over the years.  Like when Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade called Rogers: “This evil, evil man has ruined a generation of kids.”  Such a negative comment.  (Full quote is offered on a separate page - click here if you care to read it.)  And how about the focus on learning to embrace, not resist, change. While kindness and empathy are in short supply today, it need not be that way, Mr. Rogers taught us.  Ironic how a portion of the very 1st episode back in 1968 advocated peace & goodwill rather than intolerance and building walls and culture wars.  It goes to show how timeless and spot-on the show really was....50-yrs ago!

It was also nice meeting Fred Rogers' wife and two sons who appeared in the documentary as well as seeing Susan Stamberg, former host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered.  She's such a lovely woman - she retired too young.  Fred Rogers died in 2003 at age 74. 

coming up this winter: Tom Hanks to star in Mister Rogers bio-pic "You Are My Friend".

Rachel Maddow Awarded Two Emmys

Detroit Free Press reports: "Rachel Maddow continues her hot streak, as “The Rachel Maddow Show” finished the third quarter as the highest-rated cable news show. Her show got 2.7 million total viewers, topping both Fox News and CNN in the time slot in overall viewers and adults aged 25 to 54. It marks the first quarter that an MSNBC show has ranked No. 1 for all of cable news. The numbers for “Maddow” represent a 75 percent increase over the third quarter in 2016."

"Rachel Maddow's efforts to bring attention to the Flint water crisis have earned her an Emmy. The MSNBC host took home the gold for outstanding news discussion and analysis at Thursday night's News and Documentary Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  Maddow was one of the early voices in network cable news to bring Flint's contaminated water to national attention. Maddow's aggressive coverage of Flint reflects a style that has brought her to the top of the ratings heaps."  That, and Rachel and her staff dwell on facts & truth unlike most Republicans and social conservatives.

"In July, she became the first non-Fox News host to grab the top ratings spot since October 2001 and the days of CNN's Larry King, according to the Associated Press. Maddow's show nabbed two Emmys total. It also was honored for outstanding live interview for an episode featuring a one-on-one with Kellyanne Conway, currently a White House counselor to President Donald Trump."
http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/2017/10/06/rachel-maddow-emmy-flint-water-crisis/740242001/

Jobs Growth That Began Under President Obama Continues

It is nearly a daily occurrence for the Donald or his spokespeople (Conway, Huckabee-Sanders) to attempt to discredit or attack the previous administration.  Typically, facts tell a completely different story like in the case of the economy & jobs.  "We inherited a real mess," Trump says over and over.  The fact is, what the Democrats inherited in 2009 was a government that had driven our economy into the ditch with 2 unfunded tax cuts, 2 unfunded wars, and unfunded Medicare drug benefits.  Republicans added nearly 10 trillion to our national debt and had the audacity of blaming President Obama...now they're adding another trillion to our nation's debt thanks to the Trump "tax cut". 
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/us-lost-jobs-last-month-the-first-time-7-years?cid=sm_fb_maddow
originally posted 10.08.17

See related story in Mike's "archive": Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Have A Ball!

Perhaps it's a simple form of escapism, but as the Trump administration proceeds on it's path to destroy life on Earth as we once knew it, the US Postal Service introduces some fun new postage stamps.  "Have A Ball!" Forever Stamps - meaning, it will always be worth what it costs to send one 1st class item - even if you misplace it for decades.  Louise picked-up a sheet of the new stamps the other day at our local post office....they feature balls used in baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis and volleyball. For those of you who stopped mailing anything when you got your "smartphone" the postal service is where you go to send a letter or a package.

This information is being shared with the hope that a few folks who have clamored to "make America great again" will realize that we already are great.  Some 30% of Americans who don't actually follow the news because they think it's all "fake" or a "hoax" but this item is actually true and can be verified.  Try it out for yourself...first, write someone a letter - maybe a relative like your favorite Aunt who wonders if anyone still cares for her.  Next, march right down to the local post office near you while we still have 'em and buy a freaking stamp!   Step 3:  attach stamp to letter and deposit same in mail slot or mailbox designed for out-going correspondence.

Louise said the clerk was excited to share her observation that a special coating was applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process which gives them a texture that mimics the feel of a baseball’s stitching, or a golf ball’s dimples.  Cute.  Best value on Earth for just 49

Sidebar:  "So Mike...when are you going to get over it and stop with the Trump bashing?"  Answer: never.  The guy is a joke and dangerous; if he does not start World War 3 we'll be lucky.  He needs to be removed from office - until that happens none of us can remain silent.

Unbelievable...
So goes my faith in the American voters.  Actually most of my disgust is aimed at the 42.1% of registered voters who stayed away from the polls on Nov. 8th.  Pathetic.  My anger also extends to the media particularly commercial TV who have shamelessly chased after every Trump "rally" broadcasted free of charge for over a year.  The talking heads universally trashed the man but coverage fueled the racist, alt-right faction of our society.  "Drain the swamp"?   Laughable.  Look at who he's appointed - largely political insiders, all, except for a handful of faithful cast of wing-nuts. 

So now the Trump reality slime-show will be fodder for the next 4-yrs of Evening News and SNL skits.  The Donald meanwhile calls the media coverage of his flawed presidential administration a "witch hunt".  No, Mr. President, that would be the treatment Republicans who employed 4-yrs of shameful Benghazi investigations against Hillary Clinton.  "Lock her up!"   How rich is it now that news has leaked that both Ivanka Trump and Mike Pence used private email services while employed in gov't service?   Freaking hypocrites. 

I tried the "blog" thing.  90% or more of the "feedback" received was spam.  Sifting thru the crud to find a nugget or two became a chore...so after neglecting it for quite a while I nuked it.   Saved and archived are some of the previous articles I've written that folks responded to...see the right hand column above.  Mainly these articles will be about news, politics, current events. 
Mike
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something on this pg was added or revised on 12.01.18