Category Archives: LAW

Who Are the Real Americans ?

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I have been watching the Republican convention, because I believe in keeping one’s mind open. Before I cast a vote….any vote…I listen to both sides, even when I am already fundamentally opposed to one side’s perspective.  A close relative is there.  She is a big Trump fan  and an official delegate. I’m happy she can be there, because this obviously means a lot to her.

I am always open to changing my mind, if I receive a compelling intellectual motivation to do so. In the case of the current Republican nominee, however, it is difficult to even take him seriously.

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It is hard for me to take this self-agrandizing former game show host  seriously when hs uses such as Chachi  with his dubious distinction as star of “Happy Days” as an endorsement….or that moronic Duck Dynasty guy who claims that  only 20% of Americans are REAL Americans.  What IS that….the Duck Dynasty thing?  Are those even real people?  They belong in swamps.

There has  been a plethora of this talk about “real” Americans and “regular” Americans from that whole ilk  and how THEY are the only ones who make America great. Blah Blah Blah …. When these statements are not focused on the media, they are usually directed at Hillary Clinton. (yawn)

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As deluded as these self-described, “real” Americans are, they are certainly no more American than anyone else legally living in this country.  They are not more American than the 3.3 million Muslims legally living here.  They are not more American than the millions who are not religiously affiliated.  They are not more American than the low-lives in prison cells who have committed crimes.  They are not more American than the millions who believe that game hunting is morally wrong.  They are not more American than the millions who are in favor of gun control.  These rednecks…the uneducated ones who refer to being a “real” American as a membership card to their own private universe are, in fact, not the only “real” Americans.

This country is a melting pot.  We legally accommodate people from all walks of life, all religions, all non-religions, all races, all beliefs, all sorts of habits and ideas….and they are all Americans.  WE are ALL Americans.

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In my protestations against Donald Trump, I do not come from a narrow minded perspective. I do not “not get it,” as one of my friends claims.  I get it.  I totally get it.  I totally get why his primary demographic feeds on fear, is largely uneducated and has little hope because the majority of Trump supporters  were too damned stupid and lazy to work their way through an educational system that would have the power to enlighten them.  I get why they cling to lies and false hopes.  It is because THEY have no hope.  You can lie to them over and over and over…and even when they KNOW you’re lying, they will still cling to every word because they are insecure.   They have screwed up their lives and mired themselves so deeply in their own hapless BS that they are convinced that this man, Trump, this GAME SHOW HOST, is somehow qualified to be President because he has swindled his way into billions of dollars.  To these poor souls, money is the end all and be all of existence…..and most of them don’t have any.

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I know that if Donald Trump were a democrat, he would have been drummed off the podium by now for cheating on his first two wives and bragging about his infidelities.  Any Democratic politician…ANY Democratic politician who openly admitted to buying politicians from both the Republican and the Democratic side, would have been hanged by now, but not Trump.  He is the (false) golden one.  They believe he will make them rich or help them somehow.  They think he is tough, when what he really is, is a boorish, small-handed  narcissist who does not know when to keep his mouth shut.

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Donald Trump has openly and loudly praised Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-il, two of the most dangerous and corrupt leaders in  the entire world.  Trump hosted Gadaffi in New York, fed him lavish meals, brought in entertainment, and rented the tyrant his luxury apartment. He has openly praised Saddan Hussein for something that Hussein didn’t even do, in an effort to convince his hapless followers that he is TOUGH.

Donald Trump isn’t tough.  He is a bully.  Bullies are weak.  He is very insecure….and he has small hands.  How could this man possibly defend what happened at Tiananmen Square?  That incident lead to the slaughter of thousands of innocent people. Thousands.

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Donald Trump is the equivalent of the redneck who gets all of her information from Fox News and Facebook memes or cosmic blogs written by paranoids or people who are in it (feeding on the fear)  for kicks.  Trump has openly quoted the NATIONAL ENQUIRER, which like Fox News, isn’t even a legitimate news source!!!

Trump openly lied about Senator Ted Cruz’s father being a co-conspirator of Lee Harvey Oswald in the killing of John Kennedy…and even though I can’t stand Cruz, I was so happy to see him put the Orange Cheeze Doodle in his place.   Trump  told a major whopper about President Obama’s not having been born in Hawaii.  Don’t believe me?  I’m going down the list from two different fact checking organizations…both non-partisan, and both offering complete, traceable substantiation for every word published. There’s a whole list, I tell you, and I’ve only touched on the top few.

I am against Donald Trump because he draws dangerous conclusions.  He makes dangerous decisions.  For instance, he thinks the US should allow ISIS to handle the Syrian problem.  He doesn’t understand the Nuclear Triad. He has flip-flopped on his positions on health care over and again.  He openly and loudly lies….time and again.  I won’t be voting for Mr. Trump because he has demonstrated to me that he is not a good person and that he is incompetent and dangerous.

Then, there are his own “unAmerican” statements…statements that indicate he is a traitor to this nation…. such as his denial that Senator McCain is a war hero because he was dumb enough to get caught.  Really?  Even though Senator McCain is a Republican, he is not a dumb person, nor a bad one, nor an incompetent one….and especially not in comparison with Trump.

Donald Trump is a man who could cruelly ridicule a reporter who was physically challenged,  and then laugh about it.  He ridiculed women about their physical appearances and even about menstruation.  He objectifies women like some uneducated creep from the 1970’s, calls them “flat chested” or talks about how pretty they look when they’re down on their knees.  No self respecting mother of ANY daughter could possibly vote for this man to lead our country.  Not unless she is simply an idiot and doesn’t care about her daughter.

I read the story of how he raped  Ivana because, according to her, he was upset about his hair or something. While, I, too, would be upset about my hair if mine looked like his, I would not physically assault someone for it. He sexually assaulted her, but because of the way the law was written at the time, a man could not be convicted of raping his own wife, so technically, even though he did, according to his ex, commit the act, it wasn’t technically called “rape” back then in the eyes of the law …but it would be today. Regardless, according to her, it was still forcible sex….it was still rape. And now, Federal charges are pending for his rape of a 13 year old, and yesterday, another woman stepped forward with assault and rape charges against him.  So yeah.  I have daughters.  I am not going to vote for a man who does not view the world in a way that is in their best interests.  This is a man who stood in front of the entire world and bragged about his penis size!

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Mexico

Trump referred to our beautiful neighbors to the South as “murderers and rapists” and seems to have deluded himself into believing he will be able to deport 11,000,000 of them by constructing  a “deportation force” should he be elected President.  Oh, and he is all for killing the families of his enemies….their daughters…their wives…their little babies.  This is a war crime, but hey.  Donald Trump is wealthy.  He thinks that can buy his way into ignoring the law.  Of course, when pressed, he back peddled, which has become his habit. The man will say anything to anyone, so long as it will make the cards fall in his favor.

Is Donald Trump a “real American” when he, himself, dodged the draft up to five times?  I don’t think so.  Even then, he still boasts  about his prep school giving him more military experience than the actual military!  His claims about his IQ are also insane.  The rumor that his has an exceptionally high IQ are false, and come from a projection of what it would take to get into Wharton.  Fact is, Trump got into Wharton because the guy who interviewed him knew Trump’s older brother.  He was not an exceptional student.  He was, in fact, quite unremarkable.

His father gave him millions, with which he had the potential to make honest and wise investments. He didn’t, because he didn’t know how.  Instead, he took the low road, repeatedly filing bankruptcy so he wouldn’t have to pay the workers who labored so hard on the jobs that they did for him. I personally know a New York architect who is on this list. His fortune could have been much greater than it is….but even his fortune is a lie.  He has been espousing his billionaire-hood when he isn’t even a billionaire. THAT is why he won’t release his tax records.  More on that below…

Trump claimed to have seen “thousands of Muslims” merrymaking just after the tragedy on 9-11, yet there is absolutely NO corroboration of this.  Muslims were KILLED when the twin towers were attacked.  I’m not just talking about the 19 hijackers.  I’m talking about people who worked in the towers…a bank vice president, a stock trader, a cook, a waitress…and the list goes on and on.  There was nothing for American Muslims to celebrate on that day, and his statements about celebrations were absolute lies.  This has been proved many times over.  He made it up!

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A lot of people are in favor of Trump because of his FALSE claims that he is  ‘self funding’.  Not only has he accepted donations in the millions of dollars, he put a donation button on his website.  This is a man who has  filed bankruptcy  as many as FOUR TIMES,  resulting in thousands of workers being short changed and not paid at all for their hard work.

Donald Trump has lied to the American people about his net worth, claiming it is $10 billion, even though his  FEC filing shows he is only worth $165 million! 

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Donald Trump has ridiculous proposals for economic policies, such as the imposing of tariffs on China, Japan and Mexico.  These tariffs could cost Americans thousands of dollars each year.

Oh….and despite the most prominent scientists in the entire world presenting indisputable substantiation that Global Warming exists, the Donnie claims that it is a conspiracy theory by the Chinese to steal our jobs.  PLEASE!!!  The stupidity is overwhelming!  It’s like a quote from “The Patsy Cline Story” in which Patsy’s mama said, “You make me want to scream and claw my face.” Even after making this absurd claim, he filed for a permit to build a giant wall at his Irish gold course because global warming is causing erosion.  See?  When it comes to making money for HIMSELF, the man will say anything.

He taunted and criticized Mitt Romney about releasing his tax returns, claiming that it was the right thing to do…and Romney did it….but Trump?  No way.  He won’t release his because they will reveal even more, what a liar he is.

My list of complaints against Trump go on and on and on.   He is preying on the simpletons, the losers, the uneducated, the rednecks, the conspiracy theorists, the religious fanatics.  These people ARE real Americans.  They just aren’t the ONLY real Americans as they claim.

I think my number #1 reason for my disdain for Trump is his bizarre call to make America great again.  This just in:  AMERICAN IS ALREADY GREAT!   What the hell is he talking about?   *I*, Stacy Alexander, am a REAL American….and I denounce the fraud that is Donald Trump.  Trump is dangerous…and there is nothing American about him.

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No, Jimmy Carter does NOT endorse Trump!

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I opened Facebook this morning and saw about 6 claims from  right wingers, saying that Jimmy Carter now endorses Donald Trump.

It isn’t true.

Jimmy Carter was asked which he would vote for, Trump or Cruz, if he were FORCED to vote for one or the other. He said that under those circumstances, he would go with Trump, because Trump is the more malleable (easily influenced) (as opposed to Cruz being so rigid.)  This was not intended as a compliment toward Trump.   It was meant to infer that Trump is so wishy washy and wants so badly to give the appearance of “winning” (when he actually isn’t winning…) that he refuses to take a firm stand on any issue.   He does back and forth, depending on the demographic to whom he is addressing a given statement.

So NOW, the right wingers have taken those words, twisted them and are misrepresenting what Carter said as an ENDORSEMENT of Trump. Jimmy Carter does not endorse Trump, my friends. I am amazed by the stupidity of the many claims to the contrary that I am seeing across the Internet this morning.

Jeeze! Ain’t lack of education purty?!

Read the whole story HERE.

George Carlin says it best…

 

A Six Year Old Impersonates Sarah Palin

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This is six year old, Ingrid.  She worked very hard on her impersonation of Sarah Palin.  I hope you enjoy it, and that you will share it if you do!

 

Thanks for watching!

Weed The People – Is Portland the Next Amsterdam?

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Simply put, no, Portland is not the next Amsterdam.   There is no “Red Light District” and I doubt prostitution will ever be legal here.  Still, with the legalization of pot in Oregon and adjoining Washington, I’m sure a lot of people wonder what the deal is and how things will change.  I am seeing changes everywhere.  A more cosmopolitan edge is starting to appear around what used to be a simple, home-grown city of artists and independent merchants.  We are getting more five star restaurants and nicer shopping areas.  There are more tourists than there used to be, and foot traffic has increased substantially.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 5.29.28 AMThere has been no surge in crime.  There has not been an increase in traffic mishaps or people doing crazy things while stoned.   There have been medical marijuana outlets in the state for quite some time now, such as the one shown in the first picture above.  However, since the first of the month, anyone over the age of 21 can now walk into a medical marijuana facility and purchase cannabis at will.  Soon, the recreational stores will open.

An ounce can be carried in public, and one may legally keep eight ounces at home.  If that person lives at least 1000 feet away from a school, he or she can grow up to four plants, just as long as they are out of the public view.  The public is also now allowed to have up to a pound of edibles, such as pot cookies…72 ounces of cannabis extracts or concentrates.

None of these products may be consumed in public….not in parking lots, nor on park benches.  One cannot smoke at the beach, on buses, in alleyways, on sidewalks….All cannabis products must be consumed at home.  People cannot smoke anywhere that liquor is served.  They can only do it behind closed doors at home.

We are seeing pot dispensaries pop up all over the city.  Just as baristas are a huge deal among the coffee lovers here, the new “budtenders” have already risen to the top of the respect-worthy ranks….and I hear it is unacceptable to purchase pot without offering the budtender a hefty tip.

Since the new laws have gone into effect, I have heard of one incident in which a stoned driver hit a pedestrian with his car.  The pedestrian suffered minor injuries. However, I have heard of no other similar occurrences.  I have seen many cleverly-named dispensaries crop up all over the city.  We have Bridge City Collective, Calyxes, Cannabliss and Company, Cherry City Compassion, Farma and many others in virtually every part of the city.  However, I have not seen one stoner stumbling down the street.  I have not heard of one child gaining access to his or her parents’ legal pot and going to school high.

Portland is a very civilized city, and the people here seems to be embracing this whole pot thing.  I’ve noticed that people that don’t smoke pot simply don’t buy it, but I’ve not heard a lot of complaining, and I’ve not seen any protesting.  That’s one of the many things that I enjoy about living here, and that is one aspect of Portland that is, very much, like Amsterdam….the openness to change and the embracing of “alternative” anything.  Generally speaking, people do not become all that invested in the recreational activities of others, unless said activities cause someone else direct harm.  It is a “live and let live” existence….so in that respect, I guess Portland is similar to  Amsterdam…..but we have our own distinct style here….our own way of doing things.  The people in Portland, even with the new legalization of pot, seem more awake and alive…..ready to live.

Oh, and we do.  We really live here.  There is nothing “drag” about living in Portland.  It is fun.  It is exciting.   This is a place to embrace and enjoy life….and we do.  Pot.  No Pot.  It’s just one more option.

Who cares?

On Being Politically Correct

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Guns Are Created to Destroy….children…women…men.

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 That’s what they are for.   They are made to kill human beings and other living creatures.  Far too often, those human beings are innocent children. STOP GUN VIOLENCE!  …and yeah, you redneck pansy mama’s boy…I know it’s your RIGHT to carry one.   That doesn’t mean you have to.  EVOLVE beyond your redneck mentality.
Obama hasn’t taken one single gun away from anyone, as your fear based existence has claimed.  He is only trying to stop the senseless violence like the murder of all those Sandy Hook children.
Target practice is fine.  Hunting is, too, although I don’t agree with it personally.  It is this endless, senseless killing that has to stop.  It just has to.
STOP GUN VIOLENCE.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
 

This is gun fetishist Evan Hernandez of Florida, who likes to dress his kids up as shooters and etch Biblical inscriptions into his gun gear. On Sunday he was playing cowboy in front of a mirror with a loaded gun and it went off, killing his 6 year-old daughter Izabella, a leukemia survivor. Please call Florida 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Glenn Hess at (850) 872-4473 or (850) 472-4461 and tell him you want charges brought against Hernandez immediately.

I’ve Got Sunshine…on a cloudy day…..

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I’ve Got Sunshine…on a cloudy day…..

1will

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And THAT’S all I have to say about THAT.

Nepal

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Click HERE to learn how to offer relief effort to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.

(Thank you, Karma Hallmark)  xoxo

Girls

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Let’s make this one go viral, folks.  This is an important message. ANY message that makes females feel “less than” males is a bad message.  Any message that makes males feel “less than” females is a bad message, too.

Please re-blog, tweet and spread this message to the best of your ability.  It will do some good.  Thanks!

girls

Solar Jobs For 50,000 Veterans -Climate Change Addressed

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This man is a GREAT President!

President Obama Delivers Commencement Address At West Point
Over the past five years Republicans have opposed any and every attempt by President Obama to jump start the economy; particularly when it came to creating jobs. He also made, what Americans concerned about anthropogenic (manmade) climate change believed were, modest proposals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; that is until he called for a thirty percent reduction in carbon emissions earlier this year. Republicans reacted to that news with their typical fossil fuel industry devotion by launching vicious attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency tasked with ensuring power-generating plants’ comply with the new requirements.

Yesterday, in one fell swoop, the President took decisive action to address both job creation for Veterans and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The White House announced that beginning this fall the United States will launch a six-year job training program for America’s Veterans in the growing solar panel installation industry. Since Republicans have relentlessly obstructed jobs programs for America’s Veterans, the President took it upon himself to enact the program at American military bases and provide job training for at least 50,000 veterans. It is training for about 50,000 more Veterans than Republicans have provided despite several proposals and requests by the President to help America’s fighting men and women returning from war.

The Veterans’ job training program is just one of many initiatives the White House said will reduce carbon dioxide emissions contributing to climate change by more than 300-million tons, and save American homeowners and businesses billions upon billions of dollars in energy bills. To create even more jobs, as part of the President’s lone crusade to reduce the damaging effects of climate change, the Agriculture Department will spend nearly $70 million to fund 540 new solar and renewable energy projects that will target rural and farming areas. There is also a new Energy Department proposal for stricter efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners the energy department said will cut emissions more than any other efficiency standard it has issued to date, and help businesses cut their energy costs substantially.

It is true the President’s proposals to create jobs and reduce the effects of climate change are modest compared with his previous requests for Congress to act, but with Republicans opposing any action on jobs, especially for Veterans, or to address climate change, something is better than nothing.  This President has begged, cajoled, and attempted to shame Republicans in Congress to do their jobs for the American people and promote cost-saving clean energy, invest in job-creating infrastructure projects, and support carbon emission reductions to no avail, so Obama exercised his Presidential authority and addressed two issues at once.

It is certain the Koch brothers will direct Republicans to launch an opposition campaign against both the Veteran’s job program and clean energy proposals. Through ALEC and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, there has been a multi-faceted assault on any renewable or clean energy programs across the nation because the Koch’s will not tolerate any energy source that cuts into the oil industry’s profits. In fact, it was reported yesterday that in Texas, the state’s Republican comptroller said it is unfair that the wind energy industry received tax credits to grow the industry. Susan Combs singled out wind energy and said tax credits gave the industry “an unfair market advantage over the other power source.” Translation; the fossil fuel industry will not countenance competition despite its “unfair market advantage” amounting to billions-of-dollars in tax credits, billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies, and freedom to pollute.

What is typically Republican about Combs remarks is the lie that cheaper energy costs and clean energy adversely affects Texas residents’ wallets. What Texas Republicans and the oil industry did not find unfair were tax exemptions covering the “high-cost natural gas drilling” that cut operators tax bills by more than $7 billion according to data from Republican Combs’ own comptroller office. Combs also failed to address the Texas state Legislative Budget Board’s recommendation to overhaul oil industry tax breaks and taxpayer-funded incentives that have “reduced many producers’ tax liabilities to zero.” Interestingly, a partner in an oil industry firm in Austin said that having a zero tax liability was being “misconstrued by the folks that would do harm to the oil and gas industry as a giveaway, but it’s really not.”

President Obama’s one-man action on climate change and a much-needed job training program for over 50,000 Veterans, although modest, is something the Koch-Republicans are not going to allow without a fierce battle.  It is noteworthy that the President’s action will not only help 50,000 Veterans, solar energy installed at military bases and installations will save the Defense Department untold billions of dollars in energy costs now and into the future that one would think budget conscious Republicans would celebrate. However, they have shown that where the fossil fuel industry is concerned, cost savings and budget restraint never enters into their austerity agenda.

 

Republicans have spent over five years demonstrating they are not the least bit interested in providing job training or jobs for any Americans, much less Veterans because they claim it is too costly. Subsidies, tax breaks, and incentives for the oil industry, on the other hand, are a necessary cost in Republicans’ minds. That’s why the President’s idea of a job training program specific to the renewable energy sector is brilliant; if for no other reason than to send Republicans a message that this President is serious about taking care of Veterans, creating jobs, and combatting climate change whether they like it or not.

The De-Flowering of Flower Mound

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I cannot imagine, in my worst nightmare, subjecting a child to the kind of racism and general First World redneckery inherent in living in Flower Mound, Texas.

 

A Waltz on the Forensics Dance Floor

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How many of you love television programs that have to do with crime solving?  Shows such as CSI, Dateline and others that entail looking inside the heads of criminals are quite interesting.  They tend to hook their audiences by providing clues that audience members can easily fit together to solve the crimes from home.  When I signed up for a Forensic Psychology class this term, I thought this was what I would be doing.  In reality, crime solving is only a tiny aspect of being a forensic psychologist.  The discipline is so much more than these highly publicized sensational aspects.  The rest involves a fusion of psychology and technical law that can easily confuse even the most astute student.

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A lot of people equate forensic psychology with forensic science or law enforcement.  They tend to think that the forensic psychologist arrives at a crime scene, surveys the area and eventually identifies a number of psychological clues that can help catch the bad guy.  These things that you see on TV easily lead to a number of incorrect conclusions about what Forensic Psychology is. In fact, psychologists are rarely called upon to act in this capacity at all.

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Simply stated, Forensic Psychology refers to any application of psychology to the legal system. Most often it is clinical psychology, but not always.   There are different ethical standards regarding confidentiality and other issues that apply in the forensics field, as opposed to therapeutic psychology work, and forensic psychologists take completely different approaches to their clients than therapeutic psychologists do.  Some might even argue that the intersection between psychology and the law is more like a collision than a fusion.

The work that I am currently conducting is a case analysis of a Muslim immigrant who was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic.  He lived on the streets and was arrested and jailed for trespassing.  While in jail, he was given anti-psychotic medication for his mental illness.  However, upon his release back into the streets, he discontinued taking the medication.  He began to suffer visual and audio hallucinations and to believe that Nazi youth were coming to assassinate  him.  One night, as he was asleep on a park bench, he was, indeed, attacked by a gang of hoodlums.  They beat him, kicked him and left him lying on the ground, but he was not seriously injured.  After they left, the man searched until he found a pipe which he stashed in the shadows for his own protection.

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The next morning, the man saw two young teenaged boys approaching from the park’s pathway.  They were on their way to a music lesson.

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Thinking they were the youths who had attacked him the night before, and believing they had returned to kill him, he sneaked up behind them and began to wield the pipe wildly.  He struck the elder boy in the head knocking him to the ground before he began to repeatedly beat the younger brother.  The elder brother was able to escape and seek assistance.  When the police arrived, the man had bludgeoned the younger brother to death and was continuing to beat his lifeless body as he lay on the ground.  The man went completely limp when he was apprehended by the police and did not resist arrest.

The man was evaluated, deemed incompetent to be tried and committed to a mental health care facility where he underwent pharmaceutical therapy for the paranoid schizophrenia.  After 6 months of treatment, he was reevaluated and deemed competent to stand trial.   He was tried and convicted of capital murder.  It is my job to determine whether or not he qualifies for and should get the death penalty.

This brings up countless ethical issues with me.  I am an avid opponent of the death penalty for many reasons.  First, it is unfair.  Ethnic minorities are more often convicted and sentenced to death for the same crimes when non-minorities receive lesser sentences.  It costs more to execute a prisoner than to give one life in prison.  Death of the criminal does not bring back the victim.  There are just too many reasons to say, in full, why I oppose it on legal and ethical grounds.  However, my personal opinions do not count in this instance.  Only my professional ones do.

I have to consider what the prisoner needs, in terms of his rights being observed.  I have to consider what the state needs, in terms of keeping the streets safe, and I have to consider what the court needs, in terms of arriving at a just solution.  It is a lot to think about, and there are so many laws and legal loopholes and psychological issues and ethical standards to consider that it really makes my head swim!

I do not believe I will pursue a career in Forensic Psychology…..but this is an interesting class, nonetheless.

When Someone You Love Succeeds

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When Someone You Love Succeeds

I have to admit it.  Personal success feels great.  Each time I accomplish something that sets me one step closer to my goals, I feel elated.  However, that feeling pales in comparison to the emotions I experience when someone I love achieves success, be it a friend or a family member.  That’s right.  I take more joy in seeing someone I love succeed than I take in my own accomplishments.  For instance, yesterday, I received this email from my husband, John:

 

My Dearest Wife,

Early this morning,  I received the news that my “The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” was selected to kick-off San Francisco Dramatists Guild’s  spring Footlights, staged-playreading series on March 2nd.

Attached is the invitation that will be sent out from New York in a few days.

Love to you,

J

SAN FRANCISCO FOOTLIGHTS – March 2, 2015 presentation.

Please join the Dramatists Guild for a staged-reading of John Freed’s

 

“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy”

 

on Monday, March 2 at 7PM
Tides Theatre
533 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA

 

Play Synopsis:


“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” is set in an Equity-based, regional theatre in the late eighties and concerns a fed-up Jewish board member who takes over as acting artistic director in order to stage a Shylock-friendly production of “The Merchant of Venice” while being forced to confront his own set of racial and ethnic prejudices.

 

                        “A brilliant mashup of Shakespeare and August Wilson.”   Arno Selco, Ithaca College

 

 

John Freed’s Brief Bio:
East Coast native by birth, the high point of his acting career occurred at age seventeen playing the lead in “Kiss me, Kate.” He received a standing ovation for his fireman’s carry off-stage of  his co-star after her slap nearly knocked him out at the close of Act One.
Fast forward to teaching dramatic literature, especially Shakespeare,  at Penn State as well as being the theater critic for the “Erie Daily Times” and film critic for New York’s “OneWorld Magazine.” He adapted Richard Wright’s novella “The Man Who Lived Underground” as a radio play produced by the local National Public Radio station and co-wrote “When Shakespeare Was a Woman” while functioning as pro bono drama consultant for the artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theatre.
His own writing evolved further from developing a series of creative writing and new media courses at the University of St. Thomas in Texas and at Brandman / Chapman University here in the Bay area.   During this time he wrote  “Love me, Fuseli: A Play about Mary Wollstonecraft and her Circle of Friends” and “Figaro’s Follies” – a new adaption of  Beaumarchais’ “Le Mariage de Figaro” which had staged-readings by the EastBay Players in the fall of 2014.

 

He is currently working on the book and lyrics for a musical entitled “All Hallows at Hearst Castle” with composer, Jeff Dunn.

John bi-locates to Portland, Oregon where his wife, Stacy Alexander, is a graduate student, a professional writer and a mixed media artist.  His playwright website is http://freed98.wix.com/johnfreedplaywright .

 

Dramatists Guild’s San Francisco

(end)

My response to John:

To My Most Admirable Husband,
So, once again, a public acknowledgement and congratulations in the midst of many, my darling.   What an honor for your play to kick off the season!  There are insufficient words to convey how proud of you I am.  Each play you write is better than the one that came before it.   I enthusiastically encourage you to continue with your play writing, just as you have always encouraged me with my own creative endeavors.  It is with great happiness that I  look forward to seeing what you come up with next.  Oh….and “break a leg”  (figuratively…not literally)  🙂
Your loving wife,
Anastasia

An Odd, but Artful Tale

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First, a little history….and talk of how things connect:

This is a picture of my dear friends, Kenny and Jeri.  We met in Texas back in the early 80’s. They now live in New York.  I love them.  They are fantastic people, and we always try to get together when I travel back east.

kenny and jeri

It was because of Kenny and Jeri that I came to know Scott and Ana.  The picture below  is of Kenny’s brother , Scott, and his wonderful wife, Anastasia.  They are both wonderfully creative and beautiful souls.  Anastasia is a fabulous watercolor artist and playwright. Scott is a famous television and film star.

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When Anastasia recently found the wasps nest (below), I told her that I had to make a sculpture of a bird from it.  I could just see it  in my mind’s eye…..so the next thing I knew, she had mailed it to me.  And this is where the story gets a little weird….

wasp 1

When I opened the box containing the wasps nest, I was taken by how beautiful and graceful it was. It was also very fragile, and had been broken in several places.  I picked it up very gently.  It had an odd odor…and frankly, felt a little creepy, but I was compelled to handle it.

It was so very delicate that, at one point, I think I even rubbed it against my cheek, just to experience the texture.  I flipped it over and got an idea of what I was going to do with it, and just as I was about to put it back into the box, I noticed that there were several live wasps inside the box that were left behind on a piece of the nest that had come dislodged from the main piece.  Shaken, I quickly tossed the piece I was holding back into the box and rushed the whole thing outside where it stayed overnight.  The whole experience freaked me out since I am violently allergic to stinging insects.

The next day, I carefully retrieved the nest, relieved that all of the wasps were gone.  However, no sooner did I go inside, than I noticed one on my window.   I immediately told Anastasia about it and she was very apologetic.  She couldn’t imagine any wasps having survived the subzero temperatures and snow that the nest had endured in upstate New York.  I guess they’re just resilient creatures.

wasp

I didn’t destroy the wasp.  Instead, I tried to think about everything it had gone through.  Subzero temperatures, a trip all the way from New York to the West Coast in a box.  No food.  No water, et al…and I just let it stay there.  I kept a respectful distance.  Two days later, the creature was still there, so I set an orange slice in the window and pulled down the bamboo shade.  It seemed very grateful as it fed on the orange for hours.  Ingrid and I could see it from the other side.  It was fun to watch it quench its thirst!

wasp behind shade

Two days later, both the wasp AND the orange slice were gone, but I felt like a Good Samaritan for, at least, being kind to it while it was still around.  I learned something from the experience.  I’m not sure what it was….but it was something.  When I think about the whole story, I am fascinated.

You can’t make this stuff up, right?

Anyway….so now, I’ve gone to work sculpting the nest into a bird.  I am now working on the head piece and am not sure how I will fashion a beak.  I am working on different things.  The nest is so fragile that it falls apart very, very easily.  Still, I am trying to be patient and he sculpture is coming along nicely.

bird sculpture

I still have a lot of work to do on it, and I must say.  This is the most unusual art project I have ever worked on!  My friend, Debbie, just informed me that I need to fumigate it, so I will be doing that this morning before I continue.  I am thinking of adding some sterling silver wire for the facial details, but we’ll see.  It is hard to top what Mother Nature has created already!  When I get it finished, I will come back and do an update here so all of you can see it.

Meanwhile, I urge all of you to catch Scott’s new series on ABC, one that he characterizes as “A spy thriller with heart.”  It is called “Allegiance” and is a real pot boiler…a complex array of characters in an enthralling situational drama.  Watch it!  It’s good!

On Feminism

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On Feminism

I remember reading something online a couple of years ago.  It was written by a redneck nitwit about one of my friends, and it referred to the friend as a “self-admitted feminist,” in a way that implied that the redneck was somehow “above” my friend….that being a feminist was a bad thing.   I found myself wondering, “How could any woman logically NOT be a feminist and walk away with an ounce of self respect?” and I pondered this question for a long time before I concluded the answer in one word….ignorance.  The redneck is ignorant.  She doesn’t even understand what the term means.

feminism

Feminism is simply the belief that women are already, and should be treated as social and intellectual equals to men.  Many people do not realize it, but feminists can be either male or female.  For instance, my husband is a feminist.  He is very much a man, does guy things…..He just thinks that women and men are equal…and frankly, I like it that way.  It makes me work harder to please him…because he works so hard to please me.  See how that goes?  Feminism is not the same thing as “man hating”.  It isn’t anti-male at all.  People who believe that are fraught with ignorance.

feminist3The basic idea of Feminism revolves around the principle that just because human bodies are designed to perform certain procreative functions, biological elements need not dictate intellectual and social functions, capabilities, and rights.

Feminism also, by its nature, embraces the belief that all people are entitled to freedom and liberty within reason–including equal civil rights–and that discrimination should not be made based on gender, sexual orientation, skin color, ethnicity, religion, culture, or lifestyle.

feminism2Feminists–and all persons interested in civil equality and intellectuality–are dedicated to fighting the ignorance that says people are controlled by and limited to their biology.

Feminism is the belief that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties and can be intellectual equals regardless of gender. However, you should still hold the door for a feminist, man or woman; this is known as respect or politeness and need have nothing whatever to do with gender discrimination.
Get down with your own feminist selves, ya’ll.  It is time to embrace equality  for all people.  Deal with it, redneck.

Last Update of the Year

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Last Update of the Year

I have been trying to make it over here to do an update before the end of the year, but this has been my first opportunity to do so.   First, let me thank my 590  wonderful subscribers and other readers for your continued support.  I appreciate each and every one of you and hope you have gained something from being a part of my life through this blog.   I wish each of you a happy and prosperous 2015.

As I approach the end of 2014, I have made some big changes in my life.  First, I have eliminated some unhealthy familial relationships that were dragging me down,  and have grown closer to other family members.  Both moves proved to be freeing and healing.

I have begun a regular meditation and yoga practice.  I am making art again.  I still have a four point in grad school and am slated to graduate this summer.   As for friendships….every single friendship that I had at the end of last year is still in place.  One, in particular, is stronger than ever, and I feel so blessed because of this. (4).

r     Rene Best musician

Life here has been a December whirlwind!  I took a couple of fun little trips…some that I can talk about, and some that I can’t.  However, my break from school proved to be no break at all.  I had a difficult midterm that took an entire day to complete, two discussion papers to write, a paper on women in leadership roles and a psychometric analysis of a psychological testing instrument used to determine levels of creativity.  Eeeee!  I still have two papers left to write before the fourth, but I’m fairly certain I will be able to complete them on time.  I have also been finishing up a lot of work projects that I had to finish by tonight.  Those are completed and sent to my editors, so I feel great about that.

The good news is that John is home, and we have been having the best time!  We took Ingrid Christmas shopping and to Peacock lane.

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We spent a quiet Christmas together at home, then went to our daughter’s house for gift exchange and a delicious dinner.  My son in law, who makes THESE  gorgeous knifes and teaches black smithing,  hand forged an incredible cheese knife for me. I am so proud of it!  (I love handmade gifts best of all!)   For the handle, he used exotic wood that had some naturally-formed cracks in it.  He ground up turquoise, suspended it in resin and filled the cracks with it.  The picture does not do it justice.  This is a gorgeous knife! He also hand carved a beautiful wooden spoon for me and gave them both to me in a nice wooden holder.  So talented, he is! Thanks, Nate!

knife

John wanted to do something extra special this year, so surprised me with a trip to Sun Mountain Lodge   up in the beautiful Cascades. What an incredible trip! It was cozy and romantic, stunningly beautiful and gave us the opportunity to get caught up after spending a long time apart.  We loved it there and want to go back in the spring.

cascades

Met some friends there, and were able to parlay the journey into a side trip Seattle where our granddaughter, Maya, is visiting from the East Coast.  We were absolutely thrilled to learn that she plans to return to the Pacific NW.  We have missed her in the 5 months she has been gone!

ingrid and maya

We stayed with our darling friends, Sheryl and Dylan and really enjoyed the company.  Sheryl is like family to us.  It was high quality, beautiful family time.  We visited and took Ings to the park.  We went out for dinner.  We went to an incredible display of Christmas lights.  It was so much fun.  I feel so happy just thinking about it.

ings and sheryl

Much, much more has happened, but I haven’t the time to write about it all.  Tonight, we are going to join our friends, Toni and Peter, as we did last year, for dinner, drinks and dancing.  We’ll start the evening off at a little wine bar known as “Arrivederci” and then meet other friends in another location to ring in the New Year together.  There won’t be any redneck bars and plastic cups in the mix for this year,  but as my friend pointed out, I’ve always been more of a crystal stemware type anyway, so it all works out. 🙂  I know I’m loved.  I’m happy.

I’m lucky….and I know it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Be safe and have fun!