Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bruce The Cat: A Heartwarming Story

Visit The Daily Kitten [Click] to read Bruce's story. Hankie recommended.

White House Christmas Tree

The White House Christmas tree was delivered yesterday. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.


FLOTUS welcomes the White House Christmas tree

Note: There will be a new post at noon EST

Friday, November 25, 2016

What You Can Do: Twenty Lessons From Twentieth Century History

From Yale History professor Timothy Snyder's Facebook page:

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

  • 1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
  • 2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of "our institutions" unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
  • 3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
  • 4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of "terrorism" and "extremism." Be alive to the fatal notions of "exception" and "emergency." Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
  • 5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it.
  • 6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don't use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps "The Power of the Powerless" by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
  • 7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
  • 8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
  • 9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.
  • 10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
  • 11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.
  • 12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.
  • 13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.
  • 14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.
  • 15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.
  • 16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.
  • 17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.
  • 18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)
  • 19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.
  • 20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

How you can help Standing Rock

A. HELP WATER PROTECTORS WINTERIZE [Click] Send funds or send wool blankets, visa gift cards, non-cotton thermal underwear, indoor propane heaters, sub-zero sleeping bags, extreme weather overalls and gloves, extreme weather coats, feminine hygiene products, incontinence pads, horse supplies, nuts, dried fruit to Kevin C/O Lindsey Norton, PO Box 1281 Cannonball, ND, 58528.

B. FOLLOW Kevin Gilbertt FOR COVERAGE [Click] Local coverage via Facebook Live from a water protector on the front lines.

C. HELP COVER SOPHIA’S MEDICAL COSTS [Click] Sophia Wilansky was giving out bottles of water to protectors holding down the space when she was shot with a concussion grenade.

D. HELP PRODUCE DOCUMENTARY FILM [Click] The women of Standing Rock are the backbone of the stand and with your support, their voices will be heard in film ‘End Of The Line’.

E. VOLUNTEER WITH ON-SITE MEDICS [Click] Need qualified medics, EMTs, nurses, physicians, herbalists, midwives, massage therapists through the winter – and individuals who can help in supportive and logistical roles to process, sort and distribute supply donations!

F. DONATE MEDICAL SUPPLIES [Click] Donated items can be mailed to Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, PO Box 1251, Bismarck, ND, 58502 or if shipping via UPS or FedEx, use 220 E Rosser Ave #1251, Bismarck ND 58502 with shipping phone 701-409-0199.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. On Obama's "No Brainer" DAPL Choice - Click (FB only video)

Largest bank in Norway pulls its assets in Dakota Access pipeline - Click

Pipeline Protesters Say Police Nearly Blew Off Woman's Arm - Click

424-353-2016 Text NBC with your opinion
701-333-2006 National Guard Public Affairs
701-328-2200 ND Governor
701-328-4726 ND Attorney General
701-667-3330 Local Sheriff Office
202-456-1111 White House
202-456-9431 White House Situation Room
202-353-1555 DOJ comment line (no illegal sale of farms)


I am thankful for loving family and friends. What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rise, Love, Resist

Code Pink Women For Peace has been working for many years to counter the culture and economy of war/violence. Since the election of Donald Trump, they have taken to heart the admonition attributed to Joe Hill, "Don't mourn, organize." To this end, they have launched a new campaign, Rise, Love, Resist. Read about it at the link below and sign the pledge. The only way to counter Trump's miasma of hatred is to stand together in love and strength.

Remember, "love" and "peace" are not synonyms of "weakness." Quite the opposite! Hatred is born of weakness, insecurity and fear. Those whose livelihoods and neighborhoods are at risk, who believe their religious and cultural values are under attack, these are among the vulnerable Trumps demagoguery has inflamed with fear of people different than themselves and with hate. It is only by creating solidarity, making real, tangible and lasting repairs to the fabric of American life, material and spiritual, that decades of divisive, supply side, trickle down, rich get richer and poor get poorer policies have bred that the fear can be allayed and the hatred disarmed. Fighting hate with hate can only produce more hate. It can only be overcome with the constructive power of love.

So, don't think this initiative, or Code Pink in general, is for sissies. It is, on the contrary, not for the faint of heart! Their work, as always with work for the Good, is difficult and arduous and sometimes dangerous, yet essential...and never more so than now.


Rise, Love, Resist

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In Memoriam C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley

It is often overlooked that three great and influential men died on November Twenty-second, 1963. Pres. Kennedy's tragic and senseless death by assassination traumatized our nation and the world, eclipsing much other news. But on that day the literary world and in particular Fantasy and Science Fiction lost two of its finest and most eloquent members.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) and Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) both died on this day fifty-three years ago.


The Official C.S. Lewis Page

Aldous Huxley Biography

Monday, November 21, 2016

Do you know a blind child who'd like a letter from Santa?

For several years now Santa has enlisted the help of the good folks at the NFB's Jernigan Institute to help him send letter to blind American children. If you know a little boy or girl up to ten years of age who would enjoy receiving a braille letter from Santa, follow the link below and fill out the form.


NFB Jernigan Institute Helps Santa Sends Letters to Boys and Girls

They start early in Las Vegas

A festive evening lighting the Christmas tree at The Linq Las Vegas.

Donny Osmond posted this photo to his Facebook page on Saturday. And I thought Sis and I were jumping the gun, beginning to watch Hallmark Christmas movies the middle of last week! Sheesh!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

King of the Universe

We know from Scripture that the First Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Creator, made all things through the Second Person, the Redeemer, by the power of the Third Person, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Love, who is the Paraclete or Helper. Today the Church recognizes that the Redeemer is also King of the Universe. Naturally, as a Science Fiction enthusiast, I find this notion intriguing. It affirms the notion promulgated in so much SF that all things, from the mightiest star to the tiniest microbe, from the beginning of the universe to its end, are akin. If there are life forms on other planets and in distant galaxies, or if there aren't, still all creation is united in serving one Monarch, whose decree is "Love one another." This is a comforting thought, especially as we face such dark days.


Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (November 20, 2016) Photo Caption: Spiral Galaxy ESO 137-001 (ACS/WFC3) (March 4, 2014)