Big Rules Rule!

Amazing how Republicans clamor for fewer Federal oversight regulations – until it hits home and they don’t.

“Whittle down big government!” has been their jangling (alright rallying) cry for so long they should all be mute from hoarseness. Yet as soon as Texas or Florida get flattened by some powerhouse hurricane they immediately call for the country to declare them a disaster zone and send some help already! Well hello? That takes funds, planning, supplies, and infrastructure on a rather large scale, doncha know.

Panera Bread recently asked the USDA to weigh in on this weighty matter:What exactly is an egg? Yeah, I was sure I knew that since I was about two too. They want the competition to stop calling its egg/other things mashup “egg.” I see your concern, Panera. Do you think you could drum it into Repubs that we actually do need quite a lot of rules?

So Republicans, what’s the alternative? Keep shutting down the government, keep closing the National Parks? Hamstring the military by keeping them from being able to fund not just adequate but up-to-the-minute plans?

When do you look in the mirror and see the source of our problems?

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Trump – here’s a way to help the poor – but will you?

In framing Bank of America’s decision to slip customers who bank electronically into higher-fee checking accounts as only leaving them the option of currency exchanges, Robert Reed (in a recent Chicago Tribune article) missed a golden opportunity to insist the Post Office reinstate the minor bank services it used to offer, before 1966, an ongoing dark time when bank lobbyists quashed this community asset.
Thanks to people annually ordering billions of items online, the USPS delivers more packages than ever. Along with allowing it – for instance – to sell fishing licenses and to notarize documents, the post office could return to offering small banking functions.
The Post Office is, in most cases, in exactly the same buildings they’ve long been in, the same ones where bank operations happened prior to the mid-60s. The newer postal buildings have never known bank service, which doesn’t mean they never could or never should; any extra space hopefully means it should be of little trouble to retrofit anything. Chicago’s main post office for example, built in the early 90s, has cavernous public spaces which have for years stood unused.
There have been calls for the Post Office to be privatized, which it doesn’t need. In spite of Congress demanding it pay its pension obligations for 75 years into the future (which no other business or group is forced to) it is not broke.
If Trump truly cared for the not-so-well-off, he would have already executive-ordered the Post Office to return its banking opportunities (and attendant jobs) to all sites. The middle class and poor alike could then steer well away from payday loan sharks and pawn shops, transferring their attention and time and monies to the good old post office, where they could safely obtain reliable and local loans, and money orders – and, as always, passports and stamps.
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Take Amazon by storm

It’s amazing that Amazon might be considering anywhere but Chicago for the placement of their new facility.
Houston was just destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, and easily could be again. Austin escaped Harvey’s whole wrath by the skin of its teeth, but could easily bear the next mega-storm’s brunt itself. New York, ever vulnerable, hasn’t completely recovered after Superstorm Sandy. Hours after flattening Florida, Hurricane Irma still hampered Atlanta, limiting the world’s busiest airport’s operations, and even with significant help, poor Puerto Rico will never be the same.
This unholy trinity (HarvIrMaria) is at the forefront of what’s predicted to be a new era of disruptive weather events. If Amazon’s smart, it will quickly give up the idea of putting their place anywhere affected by this kind of wild severe weather – so maybe they will deign to award it to Chicago.
With the worst of times ahead, Chicago is predicted to get Atlanta’s climate. So if Amazon does pick the Windy City, it will still essentially get one of the other short-listed cities. Win-win? Rather, write “how to make silk purses out of hog-butchers’ ears.”
 A lot of things in your warehouses will not be needed as the oceans rise and ecosystems are bankrupted by greed – in other words, right now! And while you’re at it, Amazon, stop treating workers as disposable or interchangeable and the products you carry as crucial and unavoidable. If you truly care about our communities, prove it!
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Palm problems

I don’t follow Mother Church’s dicta, but I do try to keep up with world issues, so maybe for Lent we could talk about palm.
How a food feels to us has a lot to do with how much we like it, and the makers of baked goods, especially those that need a substantial shelf life, really like palm. Palm oil is now in hundreds of products including dog biscuits, as if our hounds even cared about mouth feel. Instead of having all peanut butter, Jif, for instance, contains peanuts and palm oil. A crazy/busy sale on Nutella in Paris recently made local news; Nutella was reformulated a decade ago to use palm oil instead of transfats, but it still has mostly sugar, then palm oil, hazelnuts, etc.
I ask you, good Catholics (and everyone), to take up this cause for the sake of the rainforests and orangutans, being wiped out so we can enjoy this 21st-century abomination. The biodiversity the forests evolved and still need are being cut down, with plantations of palm put in instead. The orangs try to return to what used to be their familiar foraging grounds — their homes — and are shot.
But what has this to do with the church? Palm Sunday. Palm fronds come from some of the same trees, when we shouldn’t be wiping out or denuding any of the planet’s trees for what is essentially decorations.
The dried fronds represent what was strewn before Christ; they are then burned. As has been said of eggs and rabbits (the bane of many gardens), this, too, in terms of communal fires, is a throwback to pagan times. And even having the palms dried and folded just so, into the shape of a cross, what does that do, really, to honor Jesus’s teachings? Like waving flags, finding, folding and burning palm fronds doesn’t heal the sick, it doesn’t feed the poor, it doesn’t raise the nearly dead. Can’t paper crosses – maybe folded by the homebound elderly or  little children – assuage the faithful just as well, and the jungle catch a breather?
Last year the Pope declared everyone could ditch fish for St Patrick’s Day (and fish during Lent wasn’t an order from Jesus, but an attempt by the old Church to keep fishermen in business those six weeks, when everyone was doing penance by giving up all meat). The Pope could easily decree an end to palm fronds, and, by extension, palm oil. Will he?
Meanwhile, New Zealand has adjudged a river as having the same rights as a person. Economics will no longer trump ecology there. Now that’s progressive.
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Yes – the Nose Knows

My husband and I have been the police for a really long time. We take issue with those who claim we can’t smell marijuana on clothes, whether the accusers work with scents, stink, what-have-you — or none. We both have hovered over numerous campfires. He rescued two old women from a burning building, and I was an Emergency Medical Technician, decades ago; we can still tell the difference between a wood fire and burning human flesh with ease (or unease, in the case of burnt people).

In spite of my late father sucking down cancer sticks in the house when I was growing up, in spite of having smoked too often myself as a foolish young adult, in spite of hours spent chatting in smoky bars decades back, and in spite of a few seasonal allergies these days, our sense of smell is still keen enough to distinguish between the smells of marijuana, cigarette, and cigar smoke. We can also distinguish between dog urine (which we generally find tolerable), and that of cats (repulsive). We can tell by the odors left in a person’s clothing if s/he owns cats. We have known for years that when we are at work, if a person we stop to question passes gas he’s is usually hiding something he considers more vexing. Drugs or weapons, flatulence is the tip-off.

He has on occasion come home from working with a partner who smoked. Although he would not let the other officer smoke inside the squad car, the lingering odor was sufficient for me to ask hubby to immediately launder his uniform. He had the same reaction when I was stuck with a smoker. The stench lingers on fabric, including car seats.
We have worked in the public high schools and caught whiffs of the marijuana smell on students’ clothing as they were brought into the detention office. We have on countless occasions in our total 60+ years on the force smelled it in gangways, on arrestees being brought into the lockup, and coming from a car upon making a traffic stop.

Even a moderately good sense of smell should let anyone not olefactorily impaired know when the milk is spoiled. If people can’t tell subtle differences in smells, however do parfumiers manage their jobs? Coffee roasters, too, depend on their sense of smell. Odors alert doctors to changes in their patients’ health. Just as we humans can tell more different shades of green than any other color, all our senses start out acute, and (absent disorders or abusing them) we usually retain them.

There’s a woman who can smell Parkinson’s Disease. Scientists are working to determine what exactly it is she’s smelling, in hopes of helping others with Parkinson’s.

So sorry to our detractors, but your notion that we can’t distinguish marijuana is all wet. Cops have a nose for pot — and a host of other troubles!

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Who Knows What?

Donald Trump has said that global heating is a Chinese hoax – even though he browbeat the Scottish government to erect a seawall to protect his golf course there. He disregards the solid research and recommendations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which found the rate of global heating is unprecedented and that not enough is being done to curb it.
Trump has also said he loves stupid people, and, considering the four to eight hours of television per day that he consumes, apparently counts himself among those unconcerned with the facts — and hazards from sticking his head so often in the sand.
Because he has surrounded himself with yes-men and -women (looking at you, SaraHuck) he doesn’t hear from scientists or anyone rational, only those with an ax to grind (Steve Bannon much?) and as divorced from reality as himself.
Hopefully Doug Jones can help get the country back on track, since the current administration is off the rails!
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Whom to believe and why? These are the vital questions

“The “Prez” failed many morality tests long before he moved into the White House.
– He didn’t pay people who did an honest day’s (or more) work for him

– He bragged that anyone who was rich like him could just grab women by the P***y

– he started with a new woman while still married to his wife

– as the sponsor of at least one beauty pageant, he came into the changing room and ogled the young contestants

– he mocked a disabled journalist

– he lied to us repeatedly and impudently, such as in promising he was going to be Prez to work, not golf

– quick to call out Obama and others who were being cautious about naming radical Islamism as terrorism, he still won’t call the Las Vegas shooter or Charlottesville mob domestic or white-power terrorists even though they are.

– He supports a pedophile because — like Moore, the Republican — they both are the leering/grabbing-at-teen-girls type, and because despite his promise to be a President for all the people,  Democrats just don’t cut it with him.

There have been those who, gaining high office, did not use it to stab down in the name of whatever. Obama maintained a sense of decorum and solemnity at almost every turn; Jimmy Carter tried to get us to see the seriousness of impending climate changes, but was drowned out by the oil and related interests. Trump has tantrums and tweets.

Maybe to some small extent, through no effort of Trump’s own, we see changes happening because of what Obama set in motion for the months and years to come after he left office. Those who voted Trump held their noses through the things I listed above and voted for him anyway.

Why does Heather Heyer have to be termed a leftie saint rather than a beacon of reason? Why does the Republican base support Roy Moore and denigrate Al Franken – because there’s a picture of Franken? But there’s a video of Trump boasting he can just kiss anyone because he’s rich, but now he tells us to disbelieve our own eyes and ears. So according to the So-Called-Ruler-Of-The-US and his apologists, one hamming-it-up Franken photo with a now-disgruntled woman (with whom he worked out all sorts of sexual-silliness skits) has to go, and multiple allegations against Republi-Roy are not to be believed because it was 40 years ago, and the Access Hollywood tape is fake news – why? Because what casts dispersions on Republicans, whoever the witness is, is to be denied as “fake news”. 

The RWNJs stab torches to the sky and spew violent epithets. The left for the most part marched with candles against the dark, and sang, and protected clergypeople from haters. The anti-abortion crowd has that as their driving force, not women’s rights, not climate science, no other. You and your kin may be raising your sons to be fine people, not to disparage those different from them or denigrate women, but Dolt45 isn’t. Of course he’s a racist (even if he’s not against those members of his family who are Jewish), just like he’s obviously an elitist male chauvinist pig, and just as he’ll never again say he’s a Democrat, as he once did, because there’s too much (he thinks) he stands to gain from throwing his lot in with those who are so much like himself.

You women, and your mothers and sisters and daughters were female before you and they chose sides, before anyone knew a damn thing about politics.  Are you and your family really so like him, as to deny other women?

Who, I wonder, voted for him, and if so, how will you begin to make up for it? Whence forward, for — if not moving in righteous formation with these vile men’s accusers, if not in Heather Heyer’s footsteps — then how?

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