Tag Archives: Texas

Trump’s Legal Woes Are just Getting Started

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Watching the right wingers rejoicing at Trump’s self-proclamation of exoneration within minutes of special counsel specifically stating he had NOT been exonerated is kinda sad….for them….but not for America. Because the right only hears news from one or two Trump-promoting websites, they are STILL unaware that Robert Mueller sent most of the obstruction cases were sent over to the Southern District, where Trump is legally helpless to manipulate his way out of them, since he has zero legal jurisdiction. Bwahaha! This will be a real shocker, because they don’t see it coming. It was strategic. It went right over their heads.

The closure of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election does NOT mark the end of legal worries for Trump and people close to him. Not by a longshot. Other continuing investigations and litigation are focusing on issues including his businesses and financial dealings, personal conduct, charitable foundation and inaugural committee. This will be that which ends him.

Think about it. Mueller charged 34 people and three companies. Some of those cases resulted in guilty pleas, and one case went to trial, with former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort convicted of eight criminal counts, including bank fraud and tax fraud. Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted in January of this year and pleaded not guilty, but his trial is still pending. There are other cases involving indicted Russians that have not gone to trial. Other prosecutors within the Justice Department will likely take over criminal cases begun by Mueller.

Donald Trump is horrible for America.

Trump will face significant dents in his current jubilation from federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to the legal experts viewing these cases. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in Feb. 27 congressional testimony that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is examining Trump’s business practices and financial dealings. Cohen already has implicated Trump in campaign finance law violations to which he pleaded guilty in August 2018 as part of the Southern District investigation.

Cohen admitted he violated campaign finance laws by arranging, at Trump’s direction, “hush money” payments shortly before the 2016 presidential election to porn film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal to prevent damage to Trump’s candidacy. Both women established that they had sexual relationships with Trump more than a decade ago,during his marriage to Melania, soon after the birth of their son, Baron. (As an aside, I have challenged my social media readers to document even ONE DAY that Trump has EVER dedicated to this child since he was born. ONE SINGLE DAY…..and not one person has been able to do that.)

Prosecutors said the payments constituted ILLEGAL campaign contributions intended to influence the election. Under federal election laws, such donations cannot exceed $2,700 and need to be publicly disclosed. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000. McDougal received $150,000.

The New York District investigation has involved longtime Trump ally David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper, who admitted to paying McDougal for the rights to her story and then suppressing it to influence the election, an arrangement called “catch and kill.”

Cohen has already said he was in “constant contact” with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and said other crimes and wrongdoing by Trump are being investigated by them. Trump WILL fall, and the Southern District will take him down, but it will be after this one term. Remember, Cohen said he could not testify about the nature of his last conversation with Trump in early 2018 because it was under investigation by the federal prosecutors in New York. They will get him.

A lawsuit filed by the New York state Attorney General’s Office has already led the corrupt Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was presented as the charitable arm of Trump’s business empire, to agree in December 2018 to dissolve, and the litigation continues.

The state of New York is seeking an order banning Trump and his three eldest children from leadership roles in any other New York charity EVER. The state’s Democratic attorney general accused the foundation of being “engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality” and “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests” in violation of federal law.

Charges stemming from this matter state that Trump and his family members used the charity to pay off his legal debts and purchase personal items. The foundation agreed to dissolve and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision, but the Trump’s have not yet faced a court over this illegal activity. Oh, but they will!

Then come the issues surrounding the emoluments. Trump is accused in a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia of violating anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution through his businesses’ dealings with foreign governments. These are very serious charges that Trump has not been able to beat. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on March 19 in the Trump administration’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte’s 2018 rulings allowing the case to proceed.

The Constitution’s “emoluments clause” bars U.S. officials from accepting payments from foreign governments and the governments of U.S. states without congressional approval. The lawsuit stated that because Trump did not divest himself of his business empire, spending by foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington amounts to unconstitutional gifts, or “emoluments,” to the president.

Federal prosecutors in New York are also investigating whether the committee that organized Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 accepted illegal donations from foreigners, misused funds or brokered special access to the administration for donors. The Trump organization seems to have forgotten that Federal election law prohibits foreigners from donating to U.S. political campaigns or inaugural committees, and corruption laws ban donors from making contributions in exchange for political favors.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said in December 2018 that the president was not involved in his inaugural committee, and that the $107 million raised by the committee, which was chaired by real estate developer and investor Thomas Barrack, was the largest in history, according to Federal Election Commission filings. However, there is copious evidence implicating Trump that is on its way back to haunt him.

Under the Constitution, the president, vice president and “all civil officers of the United States” can be removed from office by Congress through the impeachment process for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives acts as the accuser – voting on whether to bring specific charges such as obstruction of justice – and the Senate then conducts a trial with House members acting as prosecutors and the individual senators serving as jurors. A simple majority vote is needed in the House to impeach. A two-thirds majority is required in the Senate to convict and remove.

I don’t think Trump will be impeached, because he has so carefully shielded himself, but he WILL face charges after he is voted out of office in the next election. Just you wait.

Boutonniere Inspirations for a Wedding

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Long ago and far away, I worked as a freelance wedding planner.  My specialty was economical weddings in dramatic settings, such as beach weddings, foreign destination weddings and weddings in authentic Texas locations.  I once planned an elegant wedding in an old Austin Texas  barn, attended by some famous C&W musicians.   As they invited me to participate in the wedding celebration, we all had the times of our lives. The juxtaposition of elegant finery contrasted with the rustic elements provided by the barn was just perfect, and I was rewarded handsomely for my efforts.

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As part of my promo literature at the time, I gave tips about wedding attire, honeymoon accommodations and other useful things.  What follows is some advice I had for boutonniere inspirations.:

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Nothing can quite add the panache to a groom’s wedding attire  like the classic style embodied his boutonniere. This traditional symbol worn on the lapel of the groom’s jacket is a gesture brimming with meaning that reaches  far beyond the flower itself. Boutonnieres symbolize beauty. They symbolize the fragility of life, and love undefined all captured in a single blossom.

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Classic Wedding

A classic wedding calls for a classic symbol. A single red rose boutonniere with, perhaps, a tiny spray of baby’s breath embodies all of the characteristics any bride could wish for in a groom. The red rose symbolizes courage, sincere love, respect and a hearty congratulations to the happy couple. The baby’s breath symbolizes everlasting and undying love.

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Beach Wedding

Keeping things natural at a beach wedding is the way to go. Tiny white lily boutonnieres trimmed with raffia and miniature seashells can add a nice touch, or for something more ornate,  earthy boutonnieres with lavender, green blueberries, wax flowers and rosemary can add a subtle, yet beautiful touch the blends right in with a stunning ocean environment.

Western Style Wedding

A sunset wedding on the ranch, or at the beach, calls for shades of yellow with a boutonniere made from dusty miller, billy balls and handmade wooden button flowers tied with twine. This is a winning combination that can dress up any groom’s lapel without going over the top.

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Castle or Mansion Wedding

Any  groom can  look like a prince in a beautiful purple boutonniere made of royal ranunculus buds and rose hips that are wrapped with white or purple velvet ribbon.

High Desert Wedding

Ranunculus and rice flowers in soft desert pinks, corals and yellows are a perfect combination for a high desert wedding boutonniere. An alternative choice is silvery brunia and tiny, mint green succulents wrapped in a pale pastel ribbon.

Elegant Cocktail Lounge Wedding

Imagine the beauty of an elegant cocktail lounge wedding atop a skyscraper overlooking the glittering lights of the city. What better boutonniere could adorn the groom’s lapel than one inspired by the fresh ingredients and herbs found in the fine spirits that are served there. An aromatic boutonniere made from cinnamon sticks, Douglas fir, hops, bay laurel, grains, juniper and rosemary will be the highlight of the groom’s suit.

Hawaiian Wedding

Hawaii is one of the most popular destination wedding locations in the world. The groom will fit right in with a simple orchid boutonniere, or, for a little more flare, a boutonniere made of astrantias and jasmine blooms against a background of local foliage.

Remember, a successful wedding celebration is all about the details.  The marriage?  That’s all about the couple.

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How Not to Die

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I am very excited to announce the long-awaited book by my nutrition guru, Dr. Michael Greger.  Folks, this is a revolutionary breakthrough in medical research that will blow your minds!  Pick up a copy by visiting NutritionFacts.org.   This is the book that will change your life forever.  Would make a great holiday gift as well!

IT’s OFFICIAL: Processed Red Meats Cause Cancer

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This article appeared on NPR this morning.   It is an empirical finding by the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are “probably carcinogenic” to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.

The conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos. This does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it’s important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens.

In a Q & A released by the IARC, the agency says that “eating meat has known health benefits,” but it also points out that the cancer risk increases with the amount of meat consumed. As we’ve reported, studies show that the heaviest meat eaters tend to have the highest risk.

The IARC says high-temperature cooking methods (such as cooking meat in direct contact with a flame) produce more carcinogenic compounds. However, the group says there were not enough data “to reach a conclusion about whether the way meat is cooked affects the risk of cancer.”

Susan Gapstur of the American Cancer Society says the society recommends “consuming a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods and limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat,” she told us in a written statement.

The recommendation, Gapstur tells The Salt, is based on research. For instance, a systematic literature review on colorectal cancer published in 2011 by the World Cancer Research Fund found a statistically significant, 16 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer associated with each 100 grams of red and processed meat consumed. As the ACS points out, this is an amount of meat roughly equivalent in size to a deck of cards.

The Lancet paper points out that red meat also contains “high biological-value proteins and important micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc.” And the North American Meat Institute says lots of research points to the benefits of red meat consumption.

“Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health,” writes Barry Carpenter, president of the North American Meat Institute, in a statement on the new WHO classification.

Carpenter says it’s important to put this new classification in context. “IARC’s panel was given the basic task of looking at hazards that meat could pose at some level, under circumstance, but was not asked to consider any off-setting benefits, like the nutrition that meat delivers or the implications of drastically reducing or removing meat from the diet altogether,” the statement concludes.

Are you Depressed?

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In my opinion,  psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for  antipsychotics, like Zyprexa.  Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages.  There are times when people do need antidepressants.   However,  other times  spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression.   Think Popeye.

If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back  by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

 

Vitamin D

According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.   My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU  a day.  However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.  Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.

Magnesium

I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty.  They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium.  Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.  Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.

Folate

People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

 Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.

 Iron

Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.

 Zinc

This one is SO important!  Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.

 Selenium

Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

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When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

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Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

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© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Redbird Moonshiner

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My lovely daughter-in-law has the best taste in music.  I am forever learning about new musicians with whom I was not previously acquainted.  She posted this one on her Facebook this morning and I just had to share.  I told her I thought the style was like Eddie Vedder with a soda chaser.

Enjoy Redbird Moonshiner.

Counting the Countless – A Good Day in Texas

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Magdalena Abakanowicz is one of my favorite artists.  She makes art about the “countless”… those countless people and animals that are so easily grouped together in life…..the homeless, the Holocaust Jews and Gypsies, the poor, the unemployed, minority women, stray dogs, bees….living creatures in groups that lose their individuality because they amass in such huge numbers that society stops viewing them as individuals and sees them blindly as one entity….the group…..the countless.  There are too many of them to count, yet each one is still an individual.  Abakanowicz is on of this world’s most important artists and one that I wholly appreciate for the depth and breadth of her remarkable creations.

 She says: “I feel overwhelmed by quantity where counting no longer makes sense. By unrepeatability within such quantity. A crowd of people or birds, insect or leaves, is a mysterious assemblage of variants of a certain prototype, a riddle of nature abhorrent to exact repetition or inability to produce it, just as a human hand can not repeat its own gesture”.                        

 

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This is me, standing in front of one of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s most famous installations, “Bronze Crowd” in Dallas, at the Nasher Sculpture Center.  The light scrolls are Photoshopped in, simply because I liked the affect.  We had just dined inside, and were strolling around the grounds together, thrilled, as always, by the outstanding works of art that surrounded us.  That was a particularly wonderful day.  When it isn’t crowded, Nasher is the perfect place to meditate.  It is peaceful there.  Beautiful.  Hard to believe it is even in Texas at all.

I was thrilled to be standing in front of the Abakanowicz piece.  Each statue is headless…and slightly different from the next.  The installation signifies a statement about lost individuality.  In addition to victims of atrocities, I look at this work and  think of those that try so hard to fit in with what they are “supposed” to do, and, in the process, lose who they really are.  They forget to smile.  They forget to love.  They forget to have fun  They lose their voices in the fray.  This installation is a reminder that each person on this earth is an individual with unique qualities worth paying attention to.

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Nasher has a fantastic gift shop.  In the picture above, I was wearing my new SAAKO infinity scarf  that I had received as a gift from their shop. It has flecks of gold in it and is truly beautiful! I have been addicted to these scarves since then, and have now amassed quite the collection of them.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is located in the heart of Dallas’ thriving downtown Arts District.  Going there is my second favorite activity when I visit the Dallas area. 🙂   It is located at 2001 Flora Street.  If you ever find yourself in close proximity, do go there.  It is an art oasis that you will never forget.

 

Barack Obama in Austin

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Barack Obama in Austin

Once again, under extreme fire from the Right, Barack Obama calmly, and oh, so cooly, tells the GOP and Texas Delegates what time it is. Last Thursday night, in Austin, Texas, the president slammed the Republican agenda, and brought up their pending lawsuit. He makes it very clear this ain’t his first rodeo.

In his own words:

“As long as Congress will not increase wages for workers, I will go and talk to every business in America if I have to. There’s no denying a simple truth: America deserves a raise, and if you work full-time in this country, you shouldn’t live in poverty. That’s something that we all believe.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. There are a number of Republicans, including a number in the Texas delegation, who are mad at me for taking these actions. They actually plan to sue me. Now, I don’t know which things they find most offensive — me helping to create jobs, or me raising wages, or me easing the student loan burdens, or me making sure women can find out whether they’re getting paid the same as men for doing the same job. I don’t know which of these actions really bug them.

The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years. So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did. Maybe it’s just me they don’t like. I don’t know. Maybe there’s some principle out there that I haven’t discerned, that I haven’t figure out. You hear some of them — ‘sue him,’ ‘impeach him.’ Really? Really? For what? You’re going to sue me for doing my job? Okay.

I mean, think about that. You’re going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job — while you don’t do your job.

There’s a great movie called ‘The Departed’ — a little violent for kids. But there’s a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg — they’re on a stakeout and somehow the guy loses the guy that they’re tracking. And Wahlberg is all upset and yelling at the guy. And the guy looks up and he says, ‘Well, who are you?’ And Wahlberg says, ‘I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.’ Sometimes, I feel like saying to these guys, ‘I’m the guy doing my job, you must be the other guy.’

So rather than wage another political stunt that wastes time, wastes taxpayers’ money, I’ve got a better idea: Do something. If you’re mad at me for helping people on my own, let’s team up. Let’s pass some bills. Let’s help America together.

Talk About Your Awesome Musician from the Dallas Area….

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Ok….This guy needs to work on his guitar playing….and the first half of this song is yawnable….but …..BUT…..please listen to the second half. He brings it. Oh. My. God.  Does he ever bring it!

Blood Moon

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Dallas was one of the lucky cities that had a front row seat last night as the blood moon began to change from its silvery shade into a beautiful rose color.  We had about 10 minutes of clarity here in Portland, when the heavy cloud cover slid aside to afford us photographers a moment of glory.   The phenomenon  would have been more aptly named “Rose Moon” but that wouldn’t have been as dramatic. Right?  Just goes to show you how powerful words are.

 Just before the moon began to slide into the shadow of the earth, my friend and I were talking on the phone, half way across the USA from one another.  We both  looked at the moon at the same time.  “In stereo…” he said, and that was nice.   He “gets it”.

 Some Christians attribute prophetic significance to the Blood Moon of April 15, because it was the first of a lunar “tetrad” — four total lunar eclipses in a row, that will occur in 2014 and 2015 — and because each of those eclipses falls on an important Jewish holiday, Passover or Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). The phenomenon will repeat itself three more times in six-month intervals ending in September 2015.  Miss those, and you’ll have to wait until 2032–33.  What caused this beautiful phenomenon? In a total lunar eclipse, the moon gets a red sheen as it passes behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow).

“Since Earth’s umbral shadow is darker in the center than at the edge, the moon’s appearance will likely change dramatically with time as the total phase progresses,” NASA said in a statement.

Could this be a sign of the Apocalypse?  Most Blood Moon prophecy advocates — Texas megachurch Pastor John Hagee, for one — won’t commit to specifics, preferring instead to speak in terms of a “world-shaking event” or “the end of an age.” Other Christians aren’t so sure the Blood Moon tetrad has any biblical significance at all.  I just thought it was pretty.  I’m shallow that way.   🙂

When the Abuser is a Woman

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I am an advocate for women. That is what makes writing this post so difficult.   I have done volunteer work at a rape crisis center, have volunteered in a battered women’s shelter, have assisted women in crisis.  I am sympathetic to the plights of women as minorities, and empathize with the inequities that exist between the sexes. Does this mean I’m a “man hater”?   Um…no.  I have a wonderful husband, a new grandson and many outstanding male friends,  a couple of whom  mean a whole lot to me in terms of how they enrich my life.  I am close to my father, and I adored all of my now-deceased uncles, and the one uncle who is still living.   My sons-in-law are great….so I am very fortunate to have all of these great men in my life.  However, my women friends are not just my women friends.  They are my sisters.  I feel a strong connection to other women and relate strongly to their thoughts, feelings and situations.  This is what makes it so difficult when I learn that a woman has been abusive toward a man.  I feel that she sets other women back by decades.                                    

Are we not above this?

 

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My friend has been on the receiving end of some serious domestic violence lately.  It is not the first time that it has happened, and I am conflicted about how to help him.  He does not want trouble.  Like any victim, he feels shame at the thought of anyone turning his abuser over to the police.  To make things worse, his  abuser is a petite flower (i.e.”stink weed”) much smaller than he, and loves to pretend that *she* is the victim.   She strikes and then feigns injury herself and has been known to call the authorities in situations where SHE was the batterer….She is mentally ill, a very dangerous type.  This violent dervish is no victim.  She hits him.  She breaks his personal property.  She screams at him.  She spies on him.  She belittles him.  It doesn’t take a genius to note the patterns that have formed through the years, nor  to ascertain that she is the liar in this scenario.  In this particular case, the abuser is also an excellent actress.   Therefore, many people outside of their home only know her as  a “really great lady.” Little do they suspect how cruel and spiteful she truly is. Then again, there are those of us who know what she is and how her seedy little mind operates.

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 Her actions not only hurt the man she is abusing.  They hurt all women, just as male-against-female domestic violence hurts all men.   I am a woman, so this issue effects me….and all women.  I hate it when men abuse women.  I also hate it when women abuse men.   I am writing this today, to speak out against domestic abuse that occurs between men and women, but in this case,I am speaking out  against  women who abuse men.    Domestic violence is wrong.

Are you with someone that  purposefully chooses to destroy only the objects she knows will hurt you emotionally – using these demolition derbies  as a demonstration of her desired power and control?   In actual fact, they are a demonstration of her emotional immaturity and selfishness.

This is the case in the abusive situation that my friend is in.  Do not be silent if you see this happening among people that you know and love.  Abusers fear exposure.  Expose them!  This is what I am going to do.  If I EVER hear of this woman abusing my friend again, I will call the police and have her thrown in jail.  I will not hesitate, even if it costs my relationship with my friend.  This is going to stop, and it is going to stop NOW.

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According to recent studies, approximately two in every five cases of domestic violence are caused by women who abuse men.  This contradicts the notion that it is always the women who are left bruised and battered.  Men that are assaulted by their domestic partners are often not taken seriously by the police, witness their attackers walking away free and have fewer refuges to where they can flee.  Data that was gathered  from Home Office statistical bulletins in England, as well as submitted by the British Crime Survey,  support the fact that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09.  2009 was the last year for which figures are currently available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.  Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.  musician

Men have a completely different set of problems with which to cope.  Because women can often be perceived as “less than” men within a given society, and are, at times,  not valued as highly as men, no one is surprised when one is battered.  This is terrible, but the data exists to support this unfortunate claim.  However, the societal pressures when a man is physically/emotionally abused by a woman are completely different.   Just as a woman feels shame and embarrassment when she is abused, men feel it, too, but for different reasons.

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This, from help guide.org:

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, push, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you’re asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence.

Your spouse or partner may also: 

Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media sites.

  • Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
  • Take away your car keys or medications, try to control where you go and who you see.
  • Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations.
  • Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you.
  • Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids (or pets) if you report the abuse.

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If you have been abused and need immediate assistance, call 911 or your local emergency service.

Abused men can also reach out to the following organizations for help:

  • U.S. and Canada: 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754)

 

Abusers use domestic violence to gain and maintain complete control over their victims. It is not uncommon for an abuser to use guilt, fear, shame or intimidation to wear down their victims and to keep them under their control.  Abusers  may also threaten to take away their victims’ children or pets.

 

dv6Verbal abuse can be severely damaging as well.  Often men believe, that if they are not being physically abused by their partners,  they are not being abused.  This is wrong.  If either men or women are in a relationship which is draining something from them… that person may not recognize that his or her self-esteem is eroding his or her  happiness through verbal, mental, emotional and other forms of abuse.

In addition to physically harming him, my friend’s partner also verbally abuses him.  I want to help him by exposing her.

The following is a list of ways to tell if someone is being abused without being physically touched:

  • Withholding:  Does the abuser stop speaking when he or she is displeased?  Does he or she ignore you?  does he or she withdraw affection in order to punish?
  • Countering:  Are you told continually that you are wrong if you don’t agree with?  Does he or she argue against your every thought?  Tell you your feelings are wrong?  Tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about?  Are you forbidden from having your own opinions? friends? life?
  • Ridicule [Verbal Abuse Disguised as Jokes]:  Are you being made fun of?  Are you being ridiculed about subjects that you are particularly sensitive about?  Does your partner seem to enjoy it?    Does he or she use sarcasm to put you down?
  • Blocking and Diverting:  Is  the subject abruptly when you try to bring something up?  Does he or she divert serious discussions by accusing you of virtually everything under the sun?
  • Accusing and Blaming:  Are you blamed for everything that goes wrong?    Does he or she accuse you of hurting him or her when you tell him or her your feelings?  Are you continually accused of having affairs?  Is your partner jealous?
  • Trivializing:  Is what you say belittled?  Are your feelings or accomplishments dismissed?  Are you frequently insulted when you express pride in your own abilities?  Are you treated as if your work is no big deal?
  • Under-mining:  Is your enthusiasm destroyed with insensitive comments such as, “You wouldn’t understand”, or “You’ll never make it”?  Are your ideas sabotaged by his or her pointing out all the ways in which they might fail?   Are you interrupted when you need time alone?
  • Threatening:   Are you overtly or covertly threatened with emotional pain?
  • Name-calling:  Are vulgarities used to insult you?  Are you called cruel names?
  • Ordering:  Are you ordered to do something instead of being asked?
  • Judging and Criticizing:  Is fault found with everything that you do?  Are you told that you “ought to” or “should” do things a certain way?
  • Denial:  Do you witness denial by your abuser that certain things happened?  Are you told that the abuser didn’t say something or that you never saw something occur?
  • Abusive Anger:  Does your abuser erupt into a rage when angry?  Is there screaming, yelling, or shouting?  Are obscenities hurled in your direction?  Does your abusers body language become more aggressive?  Does she stomp, strut, hit things, or hit you?  Become red in the face?  Throw things?Does she physically get in your way, or follow you from room to room?  Snap at you?  Is she usually irritable?  Does all of this usually take place in private, when you are alone?  [ It’s a sure sign things are escalating if she attacks you in public. ]
  • Refusal to Accept Responsibility:  Are you blamed for his or her anger?

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If you know someone that is being abused…man or woman….encourage that person to leave.  Encourage them to prosecute.  You will be helping ALL survivors of domestic violence when you do.  Being passive is not the answer.

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One Night in Texas

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Through the work I did when I lived in Texas, I knew Stevie Ray.  This was back in the 80’s.  I can’t say that I liked him very much, but  I sure did like his playing!     THAT, I miss.

René Best guitarist

Long Road Home

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Goodbyes are so hard.  My heart is heavy as we make our way back to the West coast.  We have stopped periodically, exploring different areas of the country as we progress toward the Pacific NW.  I have  snapped some good photos along the way,  most of which  are on my camera waiting to be downloaded. We are now in New Mexico driving across long expenses desert with mountains in the background and the occasional train checking along the tracks. We plan to go to Tucson this afternoon and spend the night with friends Denise and Charles. We are both tired and hungry, and I miss Texas. That’s all I can say right now because I am choking back the tears.  I miss Texas.

(Thank god for cell phones!!)

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DAY #22 – A ROOM

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Photo a Day – AUGUST

Day #22- A ROOM

© Stacy Alexander – 2013

This is part of the floor mural in (I think) Terminal D …a big room….at the Dallas-FT. Worth Airport (DFW). When I fly in and out of there, I always try to see as much of the art as possible.  That is about the only good thing in this airport for a liberal vegetarian.  🙂  (well…almost….)    I have searched and searched for the name of this mosaic  artist so I could give due credit, but my attempts to find his or her name were unsuccessful.  If any of you know who made this piece, will you please let me know?