March for our lives

I was recently on a panel comprised of some older and younger GLBT people. The purpose was to compare the then with the now, and to inform the younger people both on the panel and in the audience how things used to be, what it took to make the progress that has been made, and, therefore, get them to understand the importance of safeguarding the rights they have enjoyed most of their lives, but which they could lose either by having laws passed to erase them or through legislation that on first glance might seem benevolent, but which could be applied to ignore rights as if they did not exist.

They thanked us for our hard work, but suggested that it was time to step aside and let the younger people take it from here.

It sounded like a logical request, but we elders had to explain that we knew the value of what we have because we had lived without it and fought for it, and we knew the fight was not an easy one. We expressed our concern that not having any evidence that someone would be there to take the reins, we feared that what we won could be lost through inaction. After all, in a relay race, no matter how hard the runners may have been running the race, if the next person to whom the baton is to be passed is not there, the race is lost in spite of the previous efforts and progress.

Not long after this panel there was a community event billed as a health fair, although the use of the word health was a broad one as there were, of course, medically related tables, but also political and social organizations. It took place on a downtown college campus one block from where the GLBT youth had their drop on center, and lasted four hours, so its location and schedule were convenient.

Those in attendance were adults. The adults knew about many of the organizations and resources, so it was geared to the youth who did not show up, unfortunately. This did not go unnoticed by the elder Gays who had been on the earlier panel, especially when the youth on that panel who had asked us to step aside and let the youth step in were nit there either.

They were not there to interact with the many allies, both organizational and governmental, with whom they would have to work if progress was to continue and existing rights safeguarded. If the adults had not been there to speak for the GLBT community, the community would not have been seen nor its interests supported.

I spent a number of years advocating for GLBT students. They need to feel safe and be safe in the schools they by law they were required to attend on a daily basis. Student safety was and is an important concern of mine, but, again, it seemed in my case, and in others with which I am familiar, the adults were working for the changes that were passively accepted by those who were glad that someone was fighting for them.

Using Columbine High School as a starting point, there have been quite a few too many school shootings, but the responses have consistently been adults demanding stricter gun control, adults objecting by promoting a heavy handed interpretation of the Second Amendment, the adults of the NRA issuing warnings about gun confiscations, adults buying more guns, adults in politics doing nothing, while those most likely to be adversely affected by what the adults do, or don’t do, the students, have remained complacent.

But that ended that day in Parkland, Florida, when the students whose lives were touched by the shooting declared no more and that something had to be done. They ran out of the stands and grabbed the relay baton out of the hands of the runner who was hoping someone would be there to take it up.

They, thankfully, pushed the adults aside and stepped up.

Had the shooting happened at another school, it could have ended in the usual outrage, followed by time, followed by loss of interest.

But the students at Parkland stepped up, have become involved, and are doing what should have already been done and demanding those in a position to do something to do it.

It is a shame it took 17 deaths for people to react, and that it might have only happened because of where the shooting happened.

Now instead of asking the adults to do something, kids are now asking the adults to help them.

I like that.

At least in this we old people can step aside and be with the doers, not be the major ones doing.

So Saturday I am going to Providence, Rhode Island to join in with the people organizing the March for Our Lives.

They have stepped up, and it is important to show we are with them.

This is one case where it will be good to be the ones helping, not the ones running the show, and it is important to be there so the young organizers can see the old people are there to support and are happy things are in good and younger hands.

I have my signs ready, so I will be doing my part the way I can, being there to lend a hand, quietly holding my sign an smiling at the fact that we old activists can retire and be there as helpers.

just answer the question.


The fun has begun and it is beginning to look a lot like Dancing with the Stars: Political Tap Dance Edition.

What with all the recent resignations, firings, porn star details that it was assumed had been sufficiently hidden because a certain president wanted that to be the way it is, people spilling beans to cover themselves, Cabinet Secretaries accidentally revealing they know they are not competent, the abuses of power becoming public knowledge, wasteful spending by the leaders of the party of fiscal responsibility, and the fear of a Constitutional crisis, those who have been blindly defending the president and are beginning to see how much of a stretch their defenses are clearly becoming and with absolutely no way their fall back references to Hillary’s anything, Benghazi, a 23 year old blow job in the Oval Office, and claiming a recent failure is Obama’s fault, can work anymore, are finding that answering simple questions is becoming awkward.

This weekend, when asked a simple question about his objection, or lack thereof to Mueller being fired, Senator Rand Paul went on a mini-dissertation about problems with the FBI and the CIA without actually answering the question, apparently hoping to use up the interview time.

After he thanked him for his quite enlightening summary of the situation as he sees it when it comes to the intelligence community, Jake Tapper asked Paul to answer his question about Mueller.

Paul basically said he doesn’t think there should have been a special prosecutor to begin with, while failing to see how obvious his attempted second dodge showed that he considered trump wrong, but also revealed he just was too afraid to answer the question.

There will be a lot of questions about the most current events being asked the next few days and the respondents will fall into three categories.

There will be those who will answer the questions, most likely not members of the president’s party; those who are members of his party, but, leaving office, will say the things they wouldn’t say otherwise, courage coming from a predictable lack of any possible punishment; and those, fearing the backlash for answering honestly, will, like Paul, wax eloquent about anything that keeps them from answering the question.

This is getting good.

some are easily fooled

I know. I know. We have all heard stories about rich people using their positions as wealthy people to become wealthier.

There we all those Enron guys, Jack Abramoff who was guilty of extensive corruption investigation, that smirking pharmaceutical man,  Bernard Madoff, people like that, but it seems we have it all wrong.

Larry Kudlow, who had been an advisor to Trump’s transition team and more recently a contributor on the “fake news” station CNBC, is the top candidate to lead the next White House Council of Economic Advisers.

He doesn’t have a good record giving economic advice or making economic predictions. Just before the big collapse in 2008 he told us not to worry because all would be fine and people’s jitters were unnecessary.

And now he has asserted that the wealthy are incapable of corruption because they’re wealthy.

He defended Trump’s rich guy heavy cabinet membership and his billionaire and multi-millionaire nominees by pointing out,

“Why shouldn’t the president surround himself with successful people? Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption.”

They may have no need to steal, but past and present events show that they really like to.

Trump, himself, was born into wealth, but is known to have cheated contractors out of the pay they earned doing work for him, has run such scams as Trump University, and has boasted about his success at corrupting politicians.

The super wealthy like to defend their administration positions by explaining that wealthy people have had success and Trump wants successful people in positions of authority.

Kudlow’s approach, that Trump’s team won’t be corrupt because it’s filled with the rich, is a new approach.

credibility gap

“I didn’t even know … I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’

Although many of us have seen it while some people do not want to accept what they hear, Trump has undeniably made it clear that his straight talk and saying what’s on his mind is actually him just saying stuff only because he wants to, and it is not necessarily true.

We thought he made things up because he wanted that to be how thing are, but he came out and admitted it.

He also belittled the head of state of an ally much in the same vein he does his opponents, and may have done other heads of state when they are not around.

He opened his door a crack, and people have seen inside.

Now he is going to meet with a head of state who has threatened us with a nuclear attack, and who now knows for certain that the strong possibility is there that Trump will be making things up and cannot be believed when he speaks.

Our country is in good hands.

Perhaps Edmund Hillary was actually Mexican?

To these Trumpian claims about Mexicans:

“When Mexico sends it people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists”,

“You have people come in and I’m not just saying Mexicans, I’m talking about people that are from all over, that are killers and rapists and they’re coming to this country”,

“The Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. They send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them. They don’t want to take care of them”,

we can now add a newly discovered Mexican talent. They are more than just rapists, murderers, criminals, and drug dealers.

In once again justifying a see-through concrete wall on the Southern border, along with pointing out,

“If you don’t have a wall system, we’re not going to have a country. There’s a lot of problems in Mexico. They have the cartels, and we’re fighting the cartels and we’re fighting them hard. Nobody [has] ever fought like we fought them”,

Trump also revealed a little known Mexican talent that necessitates a cartoonishly high wall.

“Getting over the top is easy. These are like professional mountain climbers. They are incredible climbers.”

And, like those kids with calves the size of cantaloupes according to Republican Steve King of Iowa who claimed for every child of illegal immigrants “who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert”,

all the mountain climbing pregnant women, and those carrying infants in their arms are coming,  and must have the upper body strength and biceps of a champion body builder to be able to get their pregnant bodies and accompanying toddlers over the existing wall.

And then there’s this….

Bad enough that Bristol Palin walked across the stage unwed but pregnant as her abstinence only promoting mother accepted the nomination for the GOP vice president slot on the ticket and then became the face of the abstinence only movement, but now there’s a new irony in town.

Conservatives at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are emphasizing abstinence as the most effective way to reduce teen pregnancy rates.

This ignores such evidence as Texas with its abstinence only education programs having the third-highest teen-pregnancy rate among all states in the country.

When I lived in a heavily conservative state that based much of its laws and civic morals on the Southern Baptist denomination, leaders were thrilled that abstinence only ideas and church teaching had resulted in the majority of the youth refraining  from any sexual activity, the only proof of which was their having signed post cards at church pledging they would not have sex until marriage.

No further proof was needed, nor was it necessary to verify faithfulness to their pledges as they certainly would no lie at church.

Mysteriously the pregnancy rate did not go down, but did go up.

The Trump administration encourages those applying for Title X federal family planning funds to include in their programs an emphasis on abstinence. This is not including it as part of an overall approach, but stressing it over everything else, a move that ignores and excludes instruction on pregnancy prevention for those for whom abstinence might be an ideal, but not a reality. Teens, after all, can get rather horny.

The Trump administration is also ready to release its $10 million research project that looked at ways to improve sex education programs, with a focus on the impact of “sexual delay”, with acting deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at HHS, Valerie Huber, a longtime abstinence advocate, being the final arbiter of which groups receive federal family planning funds as opposed to the past practice of having decisions made by a group of officials.

Abstinence only is making a comeback under Trump, a man who has bragged how avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was his Viet Nam war, how willing and able he was to grab pussy because he was a celebrity, committed adultery twice while being married three times, and is trying to silence a porn star when it comes to speaking publicly about an affair he had with her while his third and present wife was pregnant.

Accepting the validity of a message often depends on the bearer of it.

Trump is not exactly the best one to deliver one on abstinence.

Let’s all enjoy the parade

Six months after Hurricane Maria, a major power failure put almost a million people in and around San Juan, Puerto Rico back in darkness.

Since Maria, 10 percent of Puerto Ricans still do not have electricity.

One city, Yabucoa, considered ground zero for the storm, has yet to be rebuilt, or even cleaned up. Its baseball stadium is an abandoned mangled wreck, two-thirds of the city is still without power, and the city is bring run out of a private home because City Hall is unusable.

The eye of Maria passed right over Yabucoa when the storm entered Puerto Rico there on September 20 with 155 mph winds, eventually killing more than 60 people (officially, although the unofficial estimate is closer 1,000), and destroying homes and knocking out the island’s power.

While FEMA has shipped in generators, local officials have had to supply 19 generators on their own to keep the local water plant running.

About 150,000 customers remain without power across the island six months after they lost it.

When was the last time Puerto Rico crossed your mind, or, even worse, Flint Michigan?

Now, let’s all enjoy that multi-million dollar presidential self-esteem booster.

He needs the troops as a prop again


There will be no tanks in Donald Trump’s ego boosting, authoritarian, third world state type parade. Their tracks will tear up the parade route, and the repairs to the streets will add to the cost the taxpayers are already having to pay for the parade itself, the extra security, transporting the participants to DC, and the post parade clean up.

But there will be period uniforms, wheeled vehicles, and a grand finale of military war planes flying over the Capitol and Mr. Trump.

According to a Pentagon memo, the parade, which will be integrated into DC’s Veterans Day parade, will focus on the contributions of US veterans from the Revolutionary War to today.

It will have “an emphasis on the price of freedom.”

The Joint Staff will be responsible for planning the parade with the Northern Command, the overseer of US troops in North America, being responsible for executing it

So that all eyes will be on him and he can look good while basking in the light of what those who did not suffer bone spurs earned, Trump will stand in the reviewing area surrounded by veterans and Medal of Honor recipients receiving the salutes of the marchers who are required to give them.

When he announced the parade earlier this year, Trump had said, with a touch of prescience as he spoke for others without first speaking with them,

“We’ll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost, and if we can’t, we won’t do it. But the generals would love to do it, I can tell you, and so would I. I think it’s great for our country in terms of being a cheerleader and the spirit.”

Mick Mulvaney, White House budget director, estimated that Trump’s parade would cost from $10 million to as much as $30 million depending on the length, but the Pentagon memo was silent about cost.

There were 40,056 homeless veterans in the United States in 2017, which was a 1.5% increase from the 39,471 homeless veterans in 2016—the first such increase in seven years.

In 2015, the last year the data was collected, those who feed the hungry estimated that the average cost-per-meal in the U.S. was $2.94. The $10 million spent on a military parade  could provide all 40,056 homeless veterans three meals a day for 14.8 days if the cost per meal was the highest in the figures averaged,  or three meals a day for nearly a month, 28.3 days at the average cost.

Homeless veterans are not as photogenic as those who will be standing with the president at the certainly to be broadcast parade, and, if he ever actually sat down with the homeless veterans to eat the meal with them that they eat, it would not be so glamorous a thing for him.

Perhaps, to show they too, although rendered invisible, helped pay “the price of freedom”, homeless veterans should form a contingent in the parade and march as they are and reveal the shame this parade and the real reasons for it are.

You can be assured that if the homeless veterans attempt to march as we see them daily on the street, they will be turned away.

Requirements for buying a gun


Remember, when teachers are asking for decent wages, respect, and treatment as professionals, the politicians refer to them as “union thugs”.

Now, rather than make it harder for people to get guns whose only purpose is to kill many people in a short amount of time, and while claiming those doing mass school shootings suffer some form of mental illness, they cheer an executive order to make it easier for those people to get guns, with their solution for school shootings being to arm the thugs.

Teachers are getting sued for quite a few foolish things these days.

Parents, who do not instill self discipline or self-control in their children, who dismiss the need for etiquette or proper social behavior in them, will, because the teacher might yell at them while correcting their bad behavior, might tell them an answer is incorrect, or might not treat them as the prince or princess they think they are, will certainly sue a teacher who isn’t fast enough to shoot an intruder before a student gets shot or whose bullet ricochets off something in the hall hitting a kid.

What would be the limits to teacher liability, and who will cover the cost of the necessary insurance coverage?

Will the school defend the teachers or hang them out to dry, which is the most common approach when a parent goes after a teacher?

There are very few secrets in school. Students know more than adults not on campus can imagine they know. Which school staff is armed will not remain a secret very long, and an intruder, especially one who may have attended the school, will know which teacher should be eliminated first and whose students will be the first victims.

Will the teacher who goes down while defending the students be honored as a hero the same way as a fallen hero in battle is, and will the family be bestowed with something other than a funeral to attend?

Congress, while doing nothing to control a person’s ability to obtain unnecessary style weapons, and is discussing allowing gun owners from states who have few if any restrictions on the purchase of guns to carry their weapons into states with strict laws in violations of the laws of those states and the will of the people in them, is considering laws that require armed school personnel to undergo strict training, certification, psychological testing, mental health evaluation, and the like before they can protect students, while anyone with the cash, a checking account, or a credit or debit card can walk into a gun store or gun show and walk out with a weapon with which to kill the students and the teachers,

Arming teachers will increase gun sales and manufacturers’ profits, while experts with no experience in dealing with school shootings will be hired as consultants on something they know little about .

Rather than put a dent in gun sale profits, lawmakers prefer to have school districts spend millions on non-classroom, non-education related guns and programs, but not on students.

Of the two approaches, eliminating the problem or dealing with a problem you choose not to eliminate, the choice should be a simple one.