Donald Trump says that he supports a peaceful protest because it’s an American right….but not the protest about black oppression and racism…..and this is the problem. Any protest that he, or any conservative, does not agree with, is, according to conservatives, a protest that should be stopped.
Martin Luther King should have marched across a different bridge. Young black Americans should have gone to a different college and found a different lunch counter, and college kids in the 60’s had no right to protest an immoral war.
People who served in the military during the Vietnam war ….some of them with injuries that our President would have claimed disqualified them from doing so. They served anyway, because they loved their country. Their friends were killed in combat….their brothers. Those people did not die so that you could decide who is a patriot and who loves America more.
The young black athletes are not disrespecting America nor the military by taking a kneel during the anthem. They are respecting the best thing about America. It’s a dog whistle to the uneducated, racist rednecks among us to say otherwise. They, and each one of us, should protest how Black Americans are treated in this country. And if you don’t think white privilege is a fact, you simply don’t understand America.
The comedian, Chris Rock, says it best. There’s not a white man in America who would trade places with him….and he’s rich. It has not gone unnoticed that trump has spoken out against the Mexicans who want to come to America for a better life, against the Muslims, and now, the great black athletes. However, he keeps his mouth shut for days, about the white men who marched under a Nazi flag in Charlottesville, except to remind us, there were “good people” there. And when he finally tried to say the right thing, NOT ONE of them was called an S.O.B., nor did he say they should be fired.
We have white men in America who wave the Nazi flag or the Confederate flag, and he’s concerned about taking a knee because it “disrespects” this flag. We use that flag to sell mattresses and beer. We wear it as swimsuits, and wrap our bald heads in flag bandanas, and stick it in our pants, because we disrespect that flag every single day.
Perhaps we all need to read the Constitution again. There has never been a better use of pen to paper. Our forefathers made freedom of speech the first amendment. They listed 10, and not one of them says, “You have to stand during the anthem,” and I’m pretty sure that those men respected the country that they fought for and founded, a great deal more than the self-proclaimed patriots who are simply ignorant hypocrites, because they want to deny the basic freedom of this great country, a country they supposedly value and cherish so much.
Here Are A Bunch Of Ways Americans Disrespect Our Flag Daily–And No One Complains About It
From someone who was there, as a medic. Don’t want to hear any more about it being two sided.
From a (verified) source who was on the ground at Charlottesville. Please link to this and/or share it with everyone you know. This is important information.
I rarely post politics or anything else on Facebook …. But let me be clear. I was acting as a medic in Charlottesville. “Both sides”-ing about it is absolutely unacceptable. Content note: I’m going to get quite graphic here, because while I understand that there’s quite a range of political viewpoints among my Facebook friends, I want to *get this point through to everyone whatever your politics*.
In the run-up to that weekend, some local counterprotest organizers’ families were forced to flee their homes because of violent threats. Some of them had “bodyguards” – friends escorting them everywhere they went that week, even to the grocery store, work, all the mundane places that people go in their normal lives.
On Friday night, a torch-wielding mob chanting Nazi and other racist slogans (e.g. “blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us”), some doing Nazi salutes, surrounded, screamed “White lives matter” and “anti-white” at, a small group of college student counterprotesters who had linked arms around a statue and had a banner. They then threw fuel at them, beat them with lit torches, pepper-sprayed them, and punched them (including pepper-spraying a girl in a wheelchair). The police mostly stood by until the nazis were gone. A medic who was wearing a kippah (a Jewish skullcap) was followed in the dark by one of the nazis, and took it off after that so as not to be targeted. A university librarian who joined the students to try to protect them has now had a stroke. At some point that evening, the torch-wielders also surrounded a black church while chanting racist slogans. All of this not only hurt people that night but set expectations for how the white nationalists would behave the next day.
On Saturday morning, a line of clergy, along with a gradually growing group of other protesters, showed up outside the nazi rally (given the iconography, including swastikas, the Black Sun, and fasces, and the chants, of involved groups, I don’t have a problem using that word, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking these were mainstream conservative groups that are being described hyperbolically), facing militia movement members who were carrying assault rifles. There was shouting back and forth, and a small early fistfight where a nazi punched a nearby counterprotester who spilled coffee on him. Nazis were screaming antisemitic things at rabbis in the clergy line, and chanting “blood and soil” in response to the clergy singing “This little light of mine.” At one point, some clergy did a peaceful blockade of one of the park entrances, which was forcibly broken by an incoming white nationalist group with skulls painted on their shields.
The heavy bidirectional fighting, though, mostly got going after a group of counterprotesters nonviolently blocked the way of an oncoming group of white nationalists, who broke through the blockade with clubs and heavy shields. Some people defended themselves as the white nationalists kept charging and swinging clubs. After that, there were fistfights and club-fights breaking out all around, nazis pepper-spraying and tear-gassing counterprotest crowds, plastic water bottles thrown in both directions. A nazi group that didn’t know where the entrance to the park was added to the street fights.
Some clergy ran to shield vulnerable people with their bodies, and those clergy were protected by antifa-associated counterprotesters – multiple clergy/theologians have said that they would have been “crushed” and maybe killed if antifa had not protected them. This went on for a long time. For most of this, the police stood around. Eventually, they cleared both sides out of the area.
The town’s synagogue is a short distance from the park. Throughout the day, nazis paraded by it doing the Nazi salute and shouting antisemitic slurs. The police had refused to provide a guard to the synagogue for some reason, so it had hired its own armed guard. There were threats of burning it down coming in. It had to cancel a havdalah service at a congregant’s house that evening out of fear of attack.
The march that was attacked with a car by James Fields was that afternoon. What street fighting had happened was long-since over by then. It was a happy march, it was not fighting anyone. The car attack came out of nowhere and the aftermath looked like a war zone. It hit the front of the march as the march was going around a corner, and many people weren’t sure what had happened at first, people were screaming about a bomb. In addition to the woman who died, many people had serious injuries. A medic who was hit had to have emergency surgery to not lose her leg. A 13 year-old girl and her mom were among the injured. The street was covered in blood. The firefighters and paramedics were great. The police, on the other hand, rolled in an armored vehicle and threatened the crowd of survivors with a tear gas launcher. Police officers ordered the medics who were performing CPR on the woman who died to leave her and clear the area. They refused, and bystanders negotiated with the police to leave them alone.
There were several other incidents throughout the afternoon where white nationalists/nazis/whatever were menacing small groups of wandering counterprotesters with their cars, swerving toward them on the sidewalk like they were going to hit them, that kind of thing, including after the car attack. At one point my medic buddy and I were about 50 feet ahead of such a group and heard screeching car sounds and screams, and ran back, thinking for a second that there had been another terrorist attack and that this time we were the only medics on site, but fortunately it was just a scare – the driver then “rolled coal” (intentionally emitting a dark cloud of exhaust) at the people on the sidewalk before driving away. There was also an incident at some point where a young black man was badly beaten by white nationalists in a parking garage.
There is no “both sides” here. I mean, first of all, there is no moral both sides because antifascists and nazis aren’t morally the same, period. Disrupting nazis isn’t the same as being one, period. But there was also no “both sides” even beyond that. Mutual street fighting primarily kicked off by an attack from the opposing side, doesn’t compare to mowing people down with a car, to threatening a synagogue and a black church, to stalking someone for being visibly Jewish, to being part of a Nazi-slogan-screaming mob that surrounds and attacks peaceful college kids and could have easily killed one of them if the fuel thrown on a couple of them had been lit by one of the many thrown or swung torches.
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking the Saturday rally was starting out just a rally like others, but with racist assholes.
The people organizing counterprotests, whose families had to flee town, would probably take issue with that. The black church and the synagogue, the synagogue congregant who had to cancel a religious/cultural ceremony out of fear, and the ones who had to leave the building in groups out the back entrance to avoid attack, would probably take issue with that. The people who were physically attacked, on Friday night, by those in town for the Saturday rally, would probably take issue with that.
Don’t elide the difference in the questions of whether hate speech should be criminalized, and how communities and their supporters should protect themselves when people who are already threatening to kill them roll into town to rally and then physically attack community members before their rally while the police don’t stop it. Don’t invoke the Civil Rights Movement to elide it, or tsk-tsk people who were on the ground in Cville. The Civil Rights Movement had its Deacons for Defense and Justice, and similar groups. Just as importantly, many of the leading lights of the Civil Rights Movement were murdered. If you think the only valid kind of activism in response to racist hate is martyrdom, you need to at least think through the implications of that belief.
I did not have a good weekend and I have no interest in hearing comments about how, despite everything I saw and everything I said here, you think this is a “both sides” thing.
Cratering in the polls, besieged by sexual assault allegations and drowning in his own disgusting rhetoric, Donald Trump has been reduced to hollering that November’s election is “rigged” against him. His proof? It looks like he’s going to lose.
Senior Republican leaders are scrambling to distance themselves from this dangerous claim. But Trump’s argument didn’t spring from nowhere. It’s just one more symptom of a long-running effort by Republicans to delegitimize Democratic voters, appointees and leaders. For years, this disease has infected our politics. It cannot be cured until Republican leaders rethink their approach to modern politics.
Anyone with children knows that whining about imaginary cheating is the last refuge of the sore loser. But GOP leaders have served up such a steady diet of stories about imaginary cheating that an Economist-YouGov poll shows that 45 percent of Republican voters believe voter fraud is a “very serious problem,” and 46 percent have little or no confidence that ballots will be counted accurately. They hold these views even though there is literally no evidence – none, zero, zip – that widespread voter fraud is a factor in modern American elections. A recent study looked at around a billion ballots cast in the United States from 2000 through 2014 and found only 31 instances of impersonation fraud at the polls.
Republican leaders – and even Trump’s running mate – have tried to tiptoe out of the room when Trump makes ever-wilder claims of a rigged election. But as much as these Republicans would like everyone to believe that this is a Trump-only problem, it’s not.
For years, Republican leaders have pushed the lie that voter fraud is a huge issue. In such states as Kansas and North Carolina, and across the airwaves of right-wing talk radio and Fox News, Republican voters have been fed exaggerated and imagined stories about fraud. Interestingly, all that fraud seems to plague only urban neighborhoods, minority communities, college campuses and other places where large numbers of people might vote for Democrats. The purpose of this manufactured hysteria is obvious: to delegitimize Democratic voters and justify Republican efforts to suppress their votes.
The voting-fraud lie has been used to justify the passage of dozens of voter ID laws, typically rammed through state legislatures by Republican partisans. A study by political scientists at the University of California at San Diego recently concluded that strict photo-identification requirements disproportionately suppress turnout by Democratic voters – especially blacks and Latinos. Meanwhile, after a key provision in the Voting Rights Act protecting minority voters from discrimination was unceremoniously declared defective by a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court in 2013, those same Republican leaders who seem so concerned about threats to the integrity of our elections have largely remained on the sidelines.
Trump also didn’t invent ominous appeals for partisans to patrol “certain areas” and “go and watch these polling places” where citizens often vote for Democrats. More than three decades ago, the Republican National Committee was caught orchestrating expansive efforts to intimidate individuals at polling places in minority neighborhoods. Federal courts have barred the RNC from engaging in poll-watching activities relating to “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud” in minority areas ever since.
It’s not just voters, either. Trump’s effort to delegitimize federal officials and political opponents also shares a long-standing Republican pedigree.
After Trump was sued for fraud over Trump University, he attacked the legitimacy of the federal judge with Mexican heritage presiding over the case, claiming that Trump’s own bigotry undermined the judge’s neutrality. Paul Ryan tsk-tsked, but Trump was simply joining a long line of Republicans in Congress who have spent years assaulting the federal courts. For years, the Republicans have blocked scores of nonpolitical lower-court nominees who haven’t pledged their allegiance to the financial interests of the rich and powerful. These attacks culminated in a national campaign of slime against the president’s highly respected choice to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat. It’s no surprise Trump would conclude that federal judges are fair game.
Similarly, some Republicans pretended to be shocked when Trump asserted that he would follow two-bit tyrants such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and imprison his political rival after the election. But for years, congressional Republicans have focused most of their resources on finding some way to brand Hillary Clinton a criminal. A party that wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on eight separate Benghazi investigations – and shouts itself hoarse attacking an FBI director who served as a senior political appointee in a Republican administration when he concludes that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Clinton over her emails – shouldn’t feign astonishment when its presidential nominee echoes their efforts to criminalize American politics.
Democrats and Republicans disagree about a lot of issues. We both fight hard to win elections. But winning isn’t everything. Al Gore understood that when he stood down after the 2000 election. Now Republican leaders seem increasingly concerned that when Trump loses, he won’t follow that example. But Trump’s words and deeds are merely the latest – and loudest – examples in a long line of Republican tactics that are poisoning our political system.
Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. She wrote this for The Washington Post.
On this, the last day of February, I recall how I used to pity those poor kids who could only celebrate their birthdays on the actual date, every couple of years. I felt uncomfortable about the ambiguous nature of the leap year birthday. I mean, those poor kids had to hesitate and figure out an understandable response to the question, “How old are you?”.
I have always had a distaste for ambiguity. Therefore, I ask a lot of questions. (Liars HATE it that I ask a lot of questions. I catch them off guard, it seems…) I ask people a lot of questions, not because I’m nosy but because when I have all the facts about a given situation, I can make better decisions for myself. It isn’t a judgement issue. It’s more like: “If you’re going to do this….then I’m going to do that.” “If you are going to call back later, I’ll leave my phone on. If not, I’ll turn it off so I won’t be disturbed while I work.” It isn’t that I’m asking someone TO call back. Whatever their decision about this is, will be fine with me. I just want to know one way or the other so I can take action accordingly.
Turns out that science has now substantiated why ambiguity bugs me ( or all of us) as much as it does. The phenomenon actually screws with our heads. According to a study published in the Journal of Science, the reason lies in how the brain responds emotionally, and sometimes, even illogically, when forced to make decisions based on conflicting or little evidence. These so-called ambiguous decisions are different from decisions that we think of as risky decisions. No wonder the person who is being lied to, for example, appears so nutty to the rest of the world. That person is being fed conflicting information. The heart hears what it wants to hear, but the head says, “Um….hold on there just a minute….That doesn’t make sense!”
Wait….If it looks like a duck…then, it IS a duck….but it also looks like a rabbit. Which do I choose?
When faced with a risky decision, one is not sure about the outcome of a particular choice but can have a notion about the probability of success. In an ambiguous decision, a person is ignorant of both factors. Thus, the uncomfortable feeling….the uncertainty, and sometimes illogical and absurd behaviors.
Brain specialists would say ambiguity is the discomfort from knowing there is something you don’t know that you wish you did. This probably stems back to the fight or flight area of the brain, the hippocampus, and is a matter of survival. In the previously mentioned experiment, subjects were given the opportunity to place ambiguous bets while their brains were scanned using a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI). In this part of the experiment, participants were given the choice between placing a monetary bet on the chances of drawing a red card from a “risky” deck that had 20 red cards and 20 black cards…that is, where the probability of choosing either color was 50-50, and making the same bet with an “ambiguous” deck where the color composition of the cards was unknown.
In the majority of cases, the participants decided to place the risky bet. Logically, however, both bets would have been equally good because in both cases, the chance of pulling a red card on the first draw was 50-50.
The brain scans taken during the experiment revealed that ambiguous betters were often accompanied by activation of the parts of the brain known as the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). These are two areas of the brain that are involved in the whole emotions processing thing. The amygdala has been found to be closely associated with fear, which, again, harkens back to being in survival mode. If you think about it, a correlation between aversion to ambiguous decisions and activation of emotional parts of the brain makes perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view. Do I go into that dark cave or don’t I? Well, first, I need to know if a saber toothed tiger is in there, right? And I’m going to be a little nervous about it until I find out. Should I leave my boyfriend or not….Well, first, I need to find out if he really IS cheating on me. In the modern human brain, this translates into a reluctance to bet on or against an event if it seems at all ambiguous.
The results of this study could help those of us in the field of Psychology, understand how humans make decisions in the real world, because the choices people make are often based on very limited information. (i.e…..All signs point to cheating, but he denies it….or I’m not going to walk into that dark cave if there’s a tiger in there, because it will eat me alive. )
Makes sense to me.
Anyway….Happy Birthday, Leapers…er…Leap Yearlings…um…people whose birthdays are on leap year. Here’s a nice mug. Have some coffee.
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.
“Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely—that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights, too. Our right to peaceful assembly—that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”
– President Barack Obama at today’s White House Announcement on new executive orders
Each election, I take my time and decide on my candidates very carefully.
I watch the Republican debates and I take notes. I watch the Democratic debates and, again, I take notes. THEN I decide for whom I want to vote, regardless of the party he or she belongs to. I don’t blindly vote for either party’s prime candidate without first doing my homework….and after I do my homework, it somehow always ends up to be the Democratic candidate for whom I vote. I do not plan to vote for the Democratic ticket automatically.
That said, while I have fundamental differences in my political views from those of Carly Firoina, I felt she handled herself well during the Republican debates. She stuck to her view of the facts and did not rise to the battering offered by her opponent, Donald Trump. There were just things that came out of her mouth that made me stop in my tracks, scratch my head and say, “Whaaaa????”
For the many who are unfamiliar with her record, it is not a strong one. The primary mark on her resume is negative, having run Hewlett-Packard into the ground as CEO. “Call her the anti-Steve Jobs,” wrote Infoworld, who put her on a list of tech’s all-time top 25 fiascoes. During her tenure, the company’s stock lost nearly 50% of its value, thousands of employees lost their jobs to layoffs, and Ms. Fiorina was forced to resign (read: “fired”) by HP’s board. In USA Today, CBS Moneywatch, and Portfolio.com, she was ranked among the “worst CEOs in America.” On the day her departure was announced, HP’s stock went up—and she received a $21 million severance package.
What I saw during the Republican debates was exactly what I see in certain aspects of my personal life. I had to sort through the name calling and misplaced “facts” as I watched the republican debates. I listed to negative comments directed by front runner, Donald Trump, toward women’s appearance, just as I listed to certain members of my family cut one another down based on appearance. Last night, as Trump watched Carly Fiorina on TV, he said, “Look at that face! “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” ….as if that should matter. And really…..Someone who looks like THIS criticized his female opponent?
Give me a break!
Trump has called Lindsey Graham an “idiot,” labeled Jeb Bush an “unhappy person” who is “out of touch,” and has even mocked Rick Perry’s glasses. Recently, after a fundraiser for Scott Walker criticized Trump, the candidate labeled the event “very dumb” and “not smart.” Just another example of how money simply can’t buy class. This person thinks he can lead an entire nation? I beg to differ. his emotional maturity is at such a low level that he is nothing short of an embarrassment.
In certain aspects of my personal life, I must continually contend with statements such as the ones made in the above, angry-looking meme with the quote from R. Lee Ermey….whoever that is…….These are strong claims, ones that, if directed toward someone who is partisan-loyal and does not know how to conduct unbiased research, might be convincing….but how do these claims hold up?
For illustrations sake, let’s start with the claims about the economy. Under our current President, the economy has actually grown a considerable amount. It started off rocky for President Obama in 2009. In fact, that year the economy actually contracted 2.8%, just as he originally predicted that it would. Since then, however, the US economy has grown substantially under our current President: 2.5% in 2010, 1.6% in 2011, 2.3% in 2012, 2.2% in 2013, and 2.4% in 2014. These figures are very good compared to growth in other developed countries around the world in the last five years. For 2015 and 2016, the CBO projects that the economy will grow at roughly 3%. If this prediction comes into fruition, then seven out of the eight years of Obama’s presidency will have been accompanied with solid economic growth. But does anyone on the right give him credit for this. No.
So the bottom line is this….What I witnessed last night was a group of Democratic candidates who treated one another respectfully. I saw one major candidate step in an boldly defend his leading opponent, offering support and encouragement about a non-issue that keeps being dragged into the equation to muddy the views of those of us who are trying to stick to the issues. I read the fact checking after each debate.
Both sides made errors, but as I examined the facts, I realized that many of the Republican candidates (in the midst of taking jabs at one another) told blatant lies. Trump espoused his views on vaccinations, for instance, with ZERO scientific substantiation and with absolutely no authority as a physician to back up what he said. As I examined the gaffs from the Democrats, however, I found that most of them were based on the candidates making earlier statements somewhere down the road, the getting new information that could inform their opinions, intelligently adjusting those opinions, and finally arriving at new ones….Hence the right wing cries of “flip flopping”. I think the intelligent person DOES change opinions as new evidence is gleaned. I saw some exaggerations by both sides, because, well, this is politics, folks, and that’s what politicians do.
At the end of the day, I am a liberal, and that is a label that I proudly hold. I have seen it misrepresented and maligned by the right, but I will carry it to my grave with pride and respect. It is inclusive of everyone….even of the Republicans.
The label “liberal” is against oppression, racism, unnecessary gun violence, the right for a woman to determine medical decisions about her own body, wage equality, race equality, gender equality and equal opportunities for ALL. My political views are views that embrace, not views that divide and shun.
And yeah…lie about me and I’ll speak out against you,….because that is just….and it is right. However, at the end of the day, I’m just tired of it…..the greed, the attitudes of entitlement, the name calling, the mean-spirited shunning and shaming, the attitude that one’s religion is the ONLY religious choice in this great country of ours that was founded on keeping religion separate from politics and government…. and that embraces ALL religions. I’m fed up with that, and for the rest of my life, I will fight for what I believe is right for me…for my life…and for the lives of my children and grandchildren.
After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a “retard” in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:
Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult? I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night. I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have. Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next. Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift. Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more. After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much. Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia
Lavender has been studied recently for several purposes including treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as a number of other things. Its analgesic effect, however, its painkiller effect, is one of the widely studied properties. Surprising, then, that there hasn’t apparently been a single documented clinical trial to study lavender for the treatment of migraine headaches that affects tens of millions of Americans every year. Until now: “Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache: A Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.”
Migraine sufferers were asked to—at the early signs of headache—rub 2–3 drops of the lavender essential oil onto their upper lip and inhale its vapor for a 15-min period of time and score the severity of their headache for the next two hours. In the control group they did the same thing except they used drops of basically unscented liquid wax. Neither group was allowed to use any painkillers. In the lavender group 74% of patients had an improvement in their symptoms, significantly better than placebo. Though in the study lavender wasn’t directly compared to more conventional treatments, lavender appears to stack up pretty well compared to typical drugs. Lavender helped about three quarters of the time, high dose Tylenol only works about half the time, and Ibuprofen 57% of the time. The #1 prescription drug, generic imitrex, is effective 59% of the time, and then the hardcore treatment they use in emergency rooms where they inject you under the skin, 70%. All of these work better than the original migraine therapy, known as trepanning, where doctors drilled a hole in your head to let the evil spirits escape.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.
You can buy pharmaceutical grade lavender for $21 HERE.
Well, it’s official. The Dumbass, I mean, The Donald is running for POTUS. Off the top of my head, I can think of about 5 million reasons why I won’t vote for this man. However, the reason that comes to the forefront of my mind is his propensity for inconsistencies. Yes, everyone says one thing and occasionally does another…but this man? Pure deception. For instance, he is running as a Republican, but has a history of donating heavily to Democratic causes and politicians, most prominently toward the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of New York. He wrote a book called, The America We Deserve, ” but lo! His current takes on health care, taxes, and abortion are dramatically different from the views he espoused in that book. And while his contemporary views on issues like immigration are decidedly conservative, he disagrees with other Republicans on topics such as cutting Medicare spending. The boy just cannot make up his “mind”.
Mexican immigrants are “taking your jobs,” but we should let in Europeans
The Donald’s position against immigration reform ebbs and flows depending on his current political considerations. In a 2013 speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee, he referred to immigration reform as a “suicide mission” for Republicans, and suggested that said reform would increase the number of Democratic voters. THEN, he warned us that Mexican immigrants are “taking your jobs and you better be careful.” Yeah. Right. What jobs are they taking exactly? Seems to be the crap jobs that no American wants. At the same time, however, he advocated for easier paths to immigration for European migrants, whom he described as “tremendous” and “hardworking.” Say what? You’re somehow inferior if you were born in Mexico? Excuse me, Dr. Bigot.
The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Rubén Hinojosa responded to the Donald’s absurdity by stating, “His claims that European immigrants should have an easier immigration process than others is at best an ill-informed economic myth and at worst, racist rhetoric.” Exactly!
Believes wind turbines are “destructive,” backs war for oil
One of Trump’s many examples of pure ignorance, lies in his belief that wind turbines contribute to the war for oil. Say what?? Earlier this month , he lost a case against the Scottish government, which he accused of illegally licensing an experimental wind farm to be built near his golf resort in Aberdeenshire. Previously, Trump tried — and failed — to block another wind farm from being built on the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland. What is this idiot thinking?!Despite his loss, Trump’s organization issued a statement maintaining his opposition to the “destructive proliferation of wind turbines” around the world. Trump also opposes other renewable energy sources, such as solar power. I’ll bet he does…because with Trump, it seems to be all about the money. To hell with the earth! Instead of focusing on renewables, Trump has, in the past, suggested that the US steal oil fields from countries in the Middle East as “spoils” of war. Does this man not understand what is happening to the earth as a result of fossil fuel usage? Does he not read about the floods in Texas? Does he not note the new fracking-related earthquakes? How out of tune can a person be?!
He has a secret plan to defeat ISIS (but not ISIL)
Trump claims to have a plan to fight ISIS. He just won’t tell us what it is. It’s a SEEKRIT. But wouldn’t you think that a person who is seeking the highest office in the land. Trump could be a little more forthcoming about his big “plan”? When Fox interviewed him recently, the man declined to specify his plan for dealing with ISIS. citing a desire for surprise and secrecy. “If I run, and if I win, I don’t want the enemy to know what I’m doing,” Trump stated. All we know is that Trump’s plan, whatever it is, will defeat ISIS “quickly and effectively.” And that it’s “foolproof.” The false confidence espoused by this moron is one of his most distinguishing characteristics. The man do love to gloat! Reminds me of another gloater who is being made a fool of.
Flip-flop on healthcare: The Donald REALLY wants to “repeal” Obamacare
This man’s position has changed through the years because it appears he tries to get into favor by taking the trending position of the moment. In 2000, he supported universal health care as a national necessity: “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses.” He suggested that the US model its health-care system on Canada’s, arguing that the ability to treat more patients would be worth risking lower salaries for doctors. Then, BOOM! With Obamacare viewed by right wingers as anathema to their party, Trump has come down against universal healthcare. He has called Obamacare a “lie, a filthy lie” and suggested that Congress repeal it as soon as possible and replace it with something “far less expensive — both for the people and for the country.” In particular, he claimed that under Obamacare, people’s insurance deductibles went “through the roof,” and that coverage was hard to find. In its original form, Obamacare would have been much more beneficial than in its current incarnation. By the time the right wingers chopped it up and added the pieces to its obstructionist stew, it was barely recognizable, and certainly not what Obama had hoped for. Still, it has helped hundreds of thousands of people that would not, otherwise, have medical care.
Switched from pro-choice to pro-life
Trump used to support “a woman’s right to choose.” Not any more!
I have to hand it to him for being honest about this one. He does admit that he used to be pro-choice, until he heard anecdotes from friends who, after delivering an unwanted baby, found their child to be the “apple of [their] eye.” The switch was greeted with praise but also skepticism from conservative bloggers, who found it difficult to reconcile his sudden traditional values with his serial monogamy and playboy lifestyle.
The Trumper ignores science and claims that vaccines cause autism … but is still pro-vaccine
In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Trump identified himself as a “huge fan” of vaccines, but suggested that current vaccine doses were too “massive,” leading to “horrible autism.” Most of his reasoning appeared to based on anecdotal evidence of his friends, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has emphasizedagain and again that vaccines do not cause autism. OOPS! The Donald really should spend less time counting his money and more time devoting his energy to actual empirical evidence.
While his stance against vaccines is probably just another of his many vies for attention, Trump later reiterated his point on Twitter, saying he’s “gotten many letters from people fighting autism thanking me for stating how dangerous” vaccines are. “The FDA should immediately stop heavy dose vaccinations and you will see a huge decrease in children with autism.” Guess the boy doesn’t know the difference between an anecdote and a real scientific study with validity and reliability, eh?
One of Trump’s most politically popular stances is also his most idiotic . During the 2012 election cycle, Trump was an avid “birther,” questioning whether President Obama really was born in the US. Obama WAS born in the U.S. This has been substantiated time and again. Some believed Trump, until the White House released the president’s birth certificate in late April. Political surveys after this date find Trump polling at a measly 8 percent of the vote — except with far-right birthers, who stated that they would not vote for a candidate who affirmed Obama’s US citizenship. Within this fringe group, he had 37 percent favorability. Go get ’em, Donnie!
Just listen to his announcement that he intends to throw his hat into the ring! He is in favor of Chinese communism, but accuses Mexicans of bringing rapists into the country. Really? His only rationale for believing he will be a good President is the fact that he has a lot of money. Really? His announcement speech was an insane rant. He went on and on about whatever came to his “mind” and didn’t make a lick of sense. He used one quarter of GDP to claim that the economy is horrible and that Obama is lying about the unemployment numbers. Trump said that the American people can’t get jobs because China and Mexico have all our jobs. Trump warned, “Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day, and we are getting weaker.” The man is completely out of touch with reality. Ignorance feeds ignorance. He will get some votes….but not the votes of the informed and intelligent.
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.
Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who played Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. The cause of death was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.
His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.
Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock,” published in 1977, and “I Am Spock,” published in 1995.
In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”
“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” — an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some primitive special effects by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s.
His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cultlike following — the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) — coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication.
The fans’ devotion only deepened when “Star Trek” was spun off into an animated show, various new series and an uneven parade of movies starring much of the original television cast, including — besides Mr. Nimoy — William Shatner (as Capt. James T. Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), George Takei (the helmsman, Sulu), James Doohan (the chief engineer, Scott), Nichelle Nichols (the chief communications officer, Uhura) and Walter Koenig (the navigator, Chekov).
When the director J. J. Abrams revived the “Star Trek” film franchise in 2009, with an all-new cast — including Zachary Quinto as Spock — he included a cameo part for Mr. Nimoy, as an older version of the same character. Mr. Nimoy also appeared in the 2013 follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
His zeal to entertain and enlighten reached beyond “Star Trek” and crossed genres. He had a starring role in the dramatic television series “Mission: Impossible” and frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography.
He also directed movies, including two from the “Star Trek” franchise, and television shows. And he made records, on which he sang pop songs, as well as original songs about “Star Trek,” and gave spoken-word performances — to the delight of his fans and the bewilderment of critics.
But all that was subsidiary to Mr. Spock, the most complex member of the Enterprise crew: both a colleague and a creature apart, who sometimes struggled with his warring racial halves.
In one of his most memorable “Star Trek” episodes, Mr. Nimoy tried to follow in the tradition of two actors he admired, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff, who each played a monstrous character — Quasimodo and the Frankenstein monster — who is transformed by love.
In Episode 24, which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth and compassion, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.
“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declared. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber.
From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions, winning parts at a community college, where he performed through his high school years. In 1949, after taking a summer course at Boston College, he traveled to Hollywood, though it wasn’t until 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, “Queen for a Day” and “Rhubarb.”
He continued to be cast in little-known movies, although he did presciently play an alien invader in a cult serial called “Zombies of the Stratosphere,” and in 1961 he had a minor role on an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” His first starring movie role came in 1952 with “Kid Monk Baroni,” in which he played a disfigured Italian street-gang leader who becomes a boxer.
Mr. Nimoy served in the Army for two years, rising to sergeant and spending 18 months at Fort McPherson in Georgia, where he presided over shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. He also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before receiving his final discharge in November 1955.
He then returned to California, where he worked as a soda jerk, movie usher and cabdriver while studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He achieved wide visibility in the late 1950s and early 1960s on television shows like “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide” and “Perry Mason.” Then came “Star Trek.”
Mr. Nimoy returned to college in his 40s and earned a master’s degree in Spanish from Antioch University Austin, an affiliate of Antioch College in Ohio, in 1978. Antioch College later awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate.
Mr. Nimoy directed two of the Star Trek movies, “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), which he helped write. In 1991, the same year that he resurrected Mr. Spock on two episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Mr. Nimoy was also the executive producer and a writer of the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”
He then directed the hugely successful comedy “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), a far cry from his science-fiction work, and appeared in made-for-television movies. He received an Emmy nomination for the 1982 movie “A Woman Called Golda,” in which he portrayed the husband of Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, who was played by Ingrid Bergman. It was the fourth Emmy nomination of his career — the other three were for his “Star Trek” work — although he never won.
Mr. Nimoy’s marriage to the actress Sandi Zober ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Adam and Julie Nimoy; a stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck; and six grandchildren; one great-grandchild, and an older brother, Melvin.
Though his speaking voice was among his chief assets as an actor, the critical consensus was that his music was mortifying. Mr. Nimoy, however, was undaunted, and his fans seemed to enjoy the camp of his covers of songs like “If I Had a Hammer.” (His first album was called “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”)
From 1995 to 2003, Mr. Nimoy narrated the “Ancient Mysteries” series on the History Channel. He also appeared in commercials, including two with Mr. Shatner for Priceline.com. He provided the voice for animated characters in “Transformers: The Movie,” in 1986, and “The Pagemaster,” in 1994.
In 2001 he voiced the king of Atlantis in the Disney animated movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and in 2005 he furnished voice-overs for the computer game Civilization IV. More recently, he had a recurring role on the science-fiction series “Fringe” and was heard, as the voice of Spock, in an episode of the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”
Mr. Nimoy was an active supporter of the arts as well. The Thalia, a venerable movie theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, now a multi-use hall that is part of Symphony Space, was renamed the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002.
He also found his voice as a writer. Besides his autobiographies, he published “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life” in 2002. Typical of Mr. Nimoy’s simple free verse are these lines: “In my heart/Is the seed of the tree/Which will be me.”
In later years, he rediscovered his Jewish heritage, and in 1991 he produced and starred in “Never Forget,” a television movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sued a neo-Nazi organization of Holocaust deniers.
In 2002, having illustrated his books of poetry with his photographs, Mr. Nimoy published “Shekhina,” a book devoted to photography with a Jewish theme, that of the feminine aspect of God. His black-and-white photographs of nude and seminude women struck some Orthodox Jewish leaders as heretical, but Mr. Nimoy asserted that his work was consistent with the teaching of the kabbalah.
His religious upbringing also influenced the characterization of Spock. The character’s split-fingered salute, he often explained, had been his idea: He based it on the kohanic blessing, a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter in Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God.
“To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior,” Mr. Nimoy wrote years after the original series ended.
But that wasn’t such a bad thing, he discovered. “Given the choice,” he wrote, “if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”