Saturday, May 25, 2019

2020 Elections - The Hook

Dear Voters,

Are you yawning yet about the 2020 elections.  Probably not.  You are either, like me, a little worked up, or you refuse to notice.

If you are worked up and want something to do, check out this page.  It is a spreadsheet that tells you which of more than 20 democratic candidates will be allowed to participate in the Democratic debates.

If you have a candidate you want to hear from on the debate stage, you may want to give them some money, if they haven't hit the magic "65,000 supporters" number. (That is a prerequisite for being considered a serious contender.) You don't have to give a lot.  Five bucks is enough.  I've given to four different candidates so far.

If you are still refusing to notice and need a hook to get your attention,

 listen to a few of the lesser knowns.  It is amazing how nice some of them are.  For example, there is Eric Swalwell, an Iowan whose parents are still amazed that one of their sons is not a Republican.

If you are a Republican who wants a choice, you have one.  His name is Bill Weld. This guy is an outside the box thinker and a man of principle. Supposedly, Bob Corker and John Kasich are still considering a run.
Bill Weld

After you are hooked, there is lots that you can read to help you make up your mind about what is good for our democracy.

See you on the trail.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Kavanaugh Thing #MeToo

I am astounded that there is a backlash about a woman coming forward to express her outrage that the man/boy who attacked her when she was a teenager should be nominated and unquestioningly approved to serve on the highest court of the United States.

I believe her, because her story is like mine in many ways.

She was young and innocent. I was young and innocent.  In my case you could use the word naive. I didn't think that someone, out of the blue, would push me down and try to sexually attack me. I didn't think that the mere act of studying for finals in a park that I had been to many times before would put me at risk.  I was 20.  She was younger than that and she couldn't imagine that a nondescript party would risk her well-being.

I was unprepared.  I couldn't imagine.  It was May in Philadelphia. I was wearing shorts and a shirt and tennis shoes. I don't remember the shorts and shirt very well, but I remember the shoes.  Good solid tie-on tennis shoes. I don't remember the year or date exactly, but I do remember clearly the books in my arms because I was studying for finals.  It would have been between the years of 1971 and 1974. The others at the party Christine attended have been able to allow that event to slip into their realm of forgetfulness.  Even the inebriated perpetrators have forgotten and could face a lie detector unafraid with confidence. Almost. But they won't because they fear that their souls remember.

I didn't wear a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. Perhaps she remembered an admonition from an older girl. "If you go to a party where there are boys and beer, wear a bathing suit so they can't touch you." Christine didn't want to be touched, and she certainly didn't want to be attacked by two drunken boys who were stronger than she was. According to Kavanaugh's calendar, he lifted weights and played football all the time. The only thing that saved Christine from forcible rape was the bathing suit, and the beer that Kavanaugh still likes so very much. (And let's thank the guilt that a Catholic upbringing can bestow.  Perhaps that played a role in preserving Christine.)

I remember a broken bottle.  Christine remembers that she couldn't breathe when Kavanaugh's large hand was over her mouth. My attacker picked up a broken bottle from the ground.  I was on my back, where he had pushed me.  My books were scattered on the ground.  He said, "Stop fighting or I will hit you with this."  I said, "Swing away!" Maybe my attacker was Catholic too, because he threw the bottle aside and gave me the opportunity to kick him in the chin with my solid tennis shoe.

Then a miracle happened for Christine.  The second attacker jumped on the bed, unbalanced Kavanaugh, and she escaped.  My miracle was the arrival of two girls who saw that I was in trouble and called out.  My attacker ran. I stumbled down a hill to the girls, leaving my books behind.

Both Christine and I left our naivety behind us on those occasions, which we remember so well.

I did go to the police and make a report. I never heard from them again, after that day.  Would there be a report on file at the Philadelphia police station if I tried to find it now?

Republicans want to sully women who are attacked and then find it hard to tell the story according to the time schedule that Republican men feel it should be told. (Note: that is ANY time schedule that doesn't suit their partisan political purposes.)  Would Democrats follow the same course of action? I hope not, but in the past they have overlooked sexual abuses at the highest levels. The good news is that people can change and sex abusers can still do good things, but that doesn't mean they didn't commit sexual abuse.  And if they deny it, they are adding lies to their list of sins.

Republicans and Evangelical Christians in their turn have sold their souls for a strange pottage. I am astounded. I am a pro-life Democrat, so I know the little argument. "But he will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade." Can you hear how ridiculous that sounds? Will Kavanaugh allow a loophole to remain, "in the event of rape"?

Here is the truth.  If you want a healthy democracy, you don't elect or appoint or approve people who are profligate.  You don't elect or appoint or approve people who lie. You don't elect or appoint or approve people who can be bought and sold for personal gain.  That is not fake news.  That is the truth.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Outsider Issue! What Ever Happened to the Middle Class?

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are almost exclusively concerned with one issue.  They have developed stands and talking points on many issues, and Bernie Sanders has a long history of insight and service to the government and the American people, but when allowed to talk in an unbridled manner, they both return to one issue and it is the same issue.

What ever happened to the American middle class?  That is it.

The main goal of Bernie Sanders’ decades-long career in politics has been to address the root causes of economic inequality because, as he has stated, “The middle class of this country, over the last forty years, has been disappearing.”

In order to address this, Bernie advocates policies that get at the root causes of these inequities. He calls for expanding the social safety net, creating more well-paying jobs, and reforming systems that perpetuate inequality such as our broken criminal justice system.

The super-rich and multinational corporations have not been paying their fair share in taxes. Bernie proposes removing tax loopholes and tax breaks that only benefit the rich and multinational corporations, as well as raising the rates for the wealthiest Americans. With a tax system reformed in these ways, the financial burden for expanded social safety net programs would be placed on those with extraordinary means.*

The main goal of the Donald Trump campaign is to lodge the blame for the loss of the middle class squarely upon the shoulders of immigrants who have come to the United States to purportedly steal the wealth of America's workers.

Trump believes that the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans to earn a middle class wage.*  So obviously, to Trump, it is the fault of underpaid bottom rung workers that the middle class is shrinking.  

That from a man in the upper one percent who brags that he doesn't pay taxes if he can "play" the system to avoid it. That from a man who uses his power and wealth to use eminent domain to seize private property from middle class and lower middle class people without the wherewithal to fight him in court. That from a man who employs 200,000 people and believes that “Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country,” he said.  

It is apparent to me that both Sanders and Trump are right about one thing.  The loss of the middle class is destructive to the health of this country.  Sanders is right about the cause. The middle class is shrinking because the upper 1% is greedy and has positioned themselves to destroy the middle class for the sake of their short term personal gain.

Trump is "playing" the American people, attempting to gain more power and wealth for himself and his corporations, pushing the blame that should fall upon him and those like him upon the poor and unentitled.  He is interested in serving only himself and certainly not the American middle class.

*From candidate's website

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Books 2016

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Friday, January 15, 2016

Community Engagement Incentive Grant Final Report

Elizabeth DeGeorge, director of communication for the College of Social Work, received a Community Engagement Incentive Grant for her project, Learning Management System Marketing and Training for Online Continuing Education.

DeGeorge worked with the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS) to create a supportive help system to assist the over 1,700 registered users of the College of Social Work Learning Management System. The system engages people from across the state and nation in their Learning Management System, which is used for continuing education for social workers and related professions.

See the full report at this URL.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jane Bald: A Ghost Story

Deb is doing a little play in New York City. Attendance is welcome but not mandatory, but I do expect all of my friends to applaud!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Books 2015

Books read in 2015

Coming of the Storm - W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein

King Solomon's Mines - Henry Rider Haggard

Ruth - Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Memory:  How to Develop, Train, and Use It - William Walker Atkinson

Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy - David Sheff

A Million Little Pieces - James Frey

Ancient Feminine Wisdom: Inspired by Biblical Women - Judith Jungman Saadon

Heretics and Heroes: Ego in the Renaissance and the Reformation - Thomas Cahill

Crazy Creek - Sarah Simpson Bivens 

Home - Toni Morrison 

Origins of Life Part 1 - Robert M. Hazen 

On the Origin of Species - Charles Darwin

44 Scotland Street -  Alexander McCall Smith 

King and Maxwell - David Baldacci 

Origins of Life Part 2 - Robert M. Hazen

The Joy of Science Part 1 - Robert M Hazen

The Joy of Science Part 2 - Robert M Hazen

The Grand Design - Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now - Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The Blithedale Romance - Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Joy of Science Part 3 - Robert M Hazen

Wise Blood - Flannery O'Conner

The Joy of Science Part 4 - Robert M Hazen

Everything that Rises Must Converge - Flannery O'Conner

The Joy of Science Part 5 - Robert M Hazen