A sundry assortment.

A sundry assortment.  Glorious redundancy.  Yummy.

This is a post to celebrate the joy of standing on my own little orange crate in my own little corner of the internet yelling at the speed of blogging into the void.  These are some brief observations on the sweet nothings and big somethings that made their way into our news feed this week:

Tomi Lahren Elle Reeve

My first thought when I saw Elle Reeve on the Face the Nation Panel — aviator glasses, braided hipster blond — was “Good Lord, not another Tomi Lahren.” Continue reading

Struggle.

Confederate statues coming down and Mike Pence, Vice POTUS, stated “I’m someone who believes in more monuments, not less monuments” and “we ought to be celebrating the men and women who have helped our nation move towards a more perfect union and tell the whole story of America.” Continue reading

Today it’s your birthday!

First I’ll start by announcing the great relief I feel that my daughter turns a whole 21 years old today. In the eyes of the state, she is now fully-formed adult capable of making adult decisions, ordering adult libations, signing legally binding documents, and no longer a child.

But always my child.  Fierce independence has been there since about 3 years old. Case in point — in an effort to streamline getting dressed in the morning, I offered a choice of two really cute outfits. Her reply was a cool, “Mom, that’s no choice.”  She dressed off-script that morning and every morning thereafter.  It ended my two years of ‘dress your daughter in completely cute, coordinated outfits’ run.

And always the parent. I’ve watched the separation, the independence between us grow deeper and wider and stronger.  And that separation, the bond that formed, is more satisfying than dressing an automaton of my own making in cute outfits. (Also, I probably overestimate how cute the outfits were, but I digress.)

But, a satisfying bond of separation? Yes. We — parent and child, communicate across a chasm of age, education, experience, knowledge and all the rest.  As we age, I appreciate our relationship even more as I step away from seeing myself as only a “parent” and her as only a “child.” Independence from those familial labels allows me to step back and really admire the adult she’s become, appreciate her achievements, be wowed and amazed by what she accomplishes and learns, what she takes on next … yep. Without me.

Today I celebrate her independence!


Happy Birthday, Frood!

I love you lots.

– woW¹

¹”woW” is “Mom” upside-down.

Good news!

On this morning after a weekend of being riveted, horrified, saddened, dismayed, disgusted, angered by the violence and news coming out of Charlottesville, Virginia; after my amazement that the POTUS’ response to the violence correctly used the multi-syllable big word ‘egregious’ coupled with a clear dog whistle;  after all of that I would like to take a moment and celebrate some good news!

  1. Elon Musk powers up on an island. I want to take more time and look at the data presented in this article,  but I celebrate continued solar energy use and development combined with battery storage.
  2. Bruno Mars donates $1M to Flint, Michigan for the water crisis that started in 2014. For today, I celebrate Mr. Mars’ acknowledgement of the problem and contribution.
  3. Waymo, Google’s self-driving car arm is considering automobile exteriors with adhesive properties such that if you’re hit by a Waymo, you do not become an equal and opposite reaction into something else. This sounds like really kewl technology and while I celebrate that Waymo is looking into options, it almost sounds like pedestrians are at risk? Really, Waymo? So,  I celebrate, wonder, and will continue to watch this development.
  4. Paul Manafort’s home was searched for evidence by the FBI using a ‘no knock’ warrant! Whoa.  The good news: Didn’t see that one coming! And thank you Ann for pointing out that the search occurred outside the leaky communication channels residing in the White House and Mr. Manafort was not tipped off that it was coming.  I celebrate that not all of government leaks!

And to end, good news from a favorite scene in Futurama. Professor Farnsworth presents Fry with a pill, number 7 on this link if you want to listen.

Fry: I can’t swallow that.

Professor Farnsworth:  Well then, good news! It’s a suppository …

Devaluation of employment and the Apprentice President.

 

Given the low unemployment rate, it seems there is an uptick in the number of stories which reference the difficulties employers are experiencing in finding suitable candidates for employment.

An apprentice is “a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having to agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages.”¹ And so today we consider the bungler-in-chief, the apprentice who continues his cage match with the office of President of the United States and the standard he continues to bear lower and lower.

Leadership Tyranny and Nepotism:

Trump has installed his daughter, her spouse,  and his own friends and followers in prominent positions of power or influence.

Take-away: Lucky sperm, affluent eggs, and proximity carry more weight than education, dedication, and experience.  If your last name, your <skin color, gender, connections, insert affirmative action descriptor here> don’t align with our “values”, get outta here. Better luck in the next life!

Measured constraint Abandon and Arrogance:

Trump communicates international policy Tweets “fire and fury” poking the unstable bear in the Hermit Kingdom.  Presumably this tweet was an end-run around Secretary of State Tillerson. And that poor US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley!

Although I disagree with her politics, I would hazard that a talented, devoted, and serious politician has thrown her card in the ring under the bus.  How to represent the US in an international forum when her manager is keen on watching shit hit a fan?

Take-away: Your boss can’t be trusted.  He can damage years of planning, hard work, and relationship building by impetuous, angry, ill-considered 140-character blasts on his worldwide bullhorn, Twitter.

Building relationships, using professional communications, maintaining confidentiality between co-workers is overrated.  Wild-mood swings and a healthy potty-mouth will get you all the way to the White House!

Thoughtfulness Thoughtlessness:

Trump reading material.  He doesn’t need to read daily intelligence briefings.  He gets a twice-daily — that’s more than once, it’s just terrific, it’s the best, it’s great, it’s simple — it’s a folder full of praise for him.

Take-away #1: Reading for the sake of learning something new, reading for the pure joy of escape or learning, or reading for the sake of staying up-to-date on the daily concerns of the Republic are overrated and, trust me, are not even necessary. I’m here to announce that in 2017, the concept of a “President’s reading list” is an oxymoron and none of your business but it is all about him.

Take-away #2: Move along.  Nothing wrong with the narcissism of Trump.  If it’s not about him, it’s not worth his time and that includes you and any concerns you may have. Worried about that crazy Kim in the Hermit Kingdom? We have our own crazy Don to worry about here.  Get back to work …

Work ethic Time off/Golf habit:

Speaking of getting back to work, as of this writing, Trump has been in office 201 days. In those 201 days, he has golfed 46 times.  The cost to the taxpayer (again, to date) is $57,648,904. Assuming he plays a 18- hole round each time, he has played 828 holes. Assuming a 4-stroke average of par for a hole and giving The Donald the benefit of the doubt that he shoots par each hole even though we know he lies like the rug on his head, he has taken 3,312 strokes while POTUS.

And! $57,648,904 divided by 3,312 works out to a cost of $17,406 to the taxpayer every time Prescedense Trump takes a swing! Whoa!

(For comparison purposes, according to Golf Digest, Rory McIlroy is the 2017 highest paid golfer, $49,514,505. Arnold Palmer remains second. Whoa! Nice work Mr. Palmer.)

Trump’s annual take of $400,000 salary as POTUS divided by golf swings works out to a cost of $120.77/swing. Ah, a number that is understated for sure. It doesn’t include itemized costs like transportation (Air Force One), security (Secret Service) and other costs intrinsic with protection of the POTUS.

Take-away: Hard work is overrated and underpaid. Until you get caught, use other people’s money (OPM).

Well, this has been a dispiriting exercise. The POTUS Donald reliably demonstrates a blatant disregard for anything other than his own self. In a position of power and authority, he should be a leader, but he does not inspire; he is lazy; he is incompetent.

Dollars to donuts, he is a grifter running his business out of the White House, bilking the US out of billions. Dollars to donuts.


¹Until he releases his income tax returns, we can assume that President Trump is making less money from his role as President of the United States than he makes from the Trump Organization.

As a plausible conspiracy theory to defraud the United States — the country, the entire Republic, the all of our resources, the all of us — I believe Trump is using the Secret Service and the military power of the United States for protection from foreign powers that do not think as much of him as he does. As an elected pol, he is using us all for cover.

Who are the endless foreign powers who own a piece of him and his? I contend that he’s also been kept afloat and is still in business because the people dealing with him have had the cushion of interpreters and legal personnel between them and him. They don’t want to deal one-on-one with the man who sits POTUS. Sit with that for a bit.

 

Priorities.

I was intrigued by the New York Times article on Diane Hendricks and her revitalization efforts in Beloit, WI. Diane Hendricks is the same woman who in 2011 petitioned Governor Scott Walker to make Wisconsin a red state, to get rid of collective bargaining.  “What can we do to help you?” Help to the governor.  Not help to the people already employed by her various businesses. Not help to the collective bargainers working on their behalf because she was not.

And so, hello? What is this? Do I need to revise my inner cynic? Silence my critic? Is this article evidence that “with great wealth comes great responsibility”¹ and Ms. Hendricks with great wealth is stepping up to the plate with a home run for great responsibility? Changing things up for the citizens of Beloit, WI?

Ah, but no. While I give Ms. Hendricks major props for rehabbing buildings and creating an environment to attract start-ups in Beloit, Diane Hendricks has not changed. Diane Hendricks’ dollars are focused on buildings — on a “vision of how things can be” in real estate. She is running an episode of “Fixer Upper” on a city-wide scale.

The task remains for someone else, or maybe it will be many someones to do the truly heavy lifting  — the job creation, the running of businesses, the injection of sustaining and sustainable income flow to the local economy for the benefit of people who live there. That workout is left to the entrepreneurs and job creators she is aiming to attract. At the Comply365 offices a sign reads “World Class People” and maybe for Beloit, they will also look in Beloit? It is part of the world.

And so I put Beloit on watch.  It’s an economic petri dish.  It’s admirable that the self-made billionaire injects money into the place and it is a place to start. But, for Beloit, I hope someone with a vision bigger than real estate steps up for the people.

And Beloit is not alone.

As of this writing, the unemployment in Beloit remains high, 25% of Beloit lives in poverty.²


¹Bill Gates.

² Stevenson, Alexandra. “In a Weary Wisconsin Town, A Billionaire-Fueled Revival”. The New York Times. 05 August 2017. Web. 7 August 2017.

Bravo! Dr. Willie Parker! Bravo!

After the Democratic Party announced that they “will not withhold financial support for candidates who oppose abortion rights” yesterday, today is a great day to cheer for Dr. Willie Parker! Dr. Parker brings kindness, compassion, empathy, expertise and years of experience to the morally difficult and emotionally charged subject of abortion.

  • As a black man, he calls hogwash on the argument that abortion is equivalent to black genocide.
  • As a righteous man — and I do not mean self-righteous, I mean righteous — good, virtuous, upstanding, decent — he is claiming or reclaiming the moral high ground that a woman — a fully formed, autonomous life —  has a body that is all her own. A woman is not merely a host body whose independence is tossed aside if she happens to be pregnant.
  • And of most significance is that Dr. Parker is an evangelical Christian with an interpretation and a conclusion on abortion rooted in the very same Bible as other “Bible-believing Christians”. His Bible requires him to treat his patients with a Christlike compassion and empathy.  He has struggled with what it means to deny women abortions and he has reached the conclusion, from the story of the Good Samaritan no less, that as a Christian he is required to help his patients.

And so today, I cheer this good man who presents an educated, moral, complete, and kind argument in contrast to, and in answer to the hyperbole and misdirection employed by those who would deny a woman the right to her own body.


For more information, I’ve included a link to an interview with Dr. Parker and a link to purchase his book Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice:

Interview: Dr. Willie Parker on Why Abortion Rights Are a Moral Imperative, Especially for Christians (Hat Tip: Jezebel)

Web-site: Dr. Willie Parker