Saturday, December 31, 2016

Almost 2017

It is already 2017 in parts of this round, blue ball we call earth. In three hours and twenty minutes it will be officially the New Year here in Estacada, Oregon.

To all my family and friends, I wish you a very happy new year for 2017. May all your deepest desires come true in the new year. May you flourish in health, prosper in wealth, and increase in wisdom.

                           Happy 2017

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What is the Traditional Message at Christmas from the President?

John F. Kennedy
"For nearly 2,000 years the message of Christmas, the message of peace and good will towards all men, has been the guiding star of our endeavors ... (Christmas) is the day when we remind ourselves that man can and must live in peace with his neighbors and that it is the peacemakers who are truly blessed." Dec 17, 1962

Jimmy Carter
"Christmas is a time to remind us that even when we do suffer and are disappointed in the United States and live even a dismal life, compared to our own immediate neighbors, compared to most of the rest of the world, we indeed have a joyous life and a wonderful life." Dec 15, 1977

George H.W. Bush
"Christ's brief time on Earth was devoted to tending the physical and spiritual needs of His flock: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and illuminating the path to eternal salvation... Today, Christ's message of hope and redemption -- first delivered on that holy night in the City of David -- continues to bring peace and joy to millions of people around the world."  Dec 18, 1990

Bill Clinton
"The Christmas story is dear and familiar to us all—shepherds and angels, Wise Men and King Herod, Mary and Joseph, and, at the heart of it all, a Child. This Child was born into poverty in a city too crowded to offer Him shelter. He was sent to a region whose people had endured suffering, tyranny, and exile." Dec 20, 1995

George W Bush
"Christmastime reminds each of us that we have a duty to love our neighbor just as we would like to be loved ourselves."  Dec 23, 2003

Barack Obama
 "Christ... ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast. He healed the sick. And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds."  Dec 13, 2013

Donald Trump at 8:50 a.m. this morning
" Defence stocks were little changed after Mr Trump's tweet, but shares of small uranium miners including Uranium Resources Inc and Uranium Energy Corp rose sharply." ABC News Online today

[Former presidents' quotes are excerpts from Deseret News Opinion Dec 13, 2014, online. President-elect Trump quoted from Twitter today]

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Weather Report for Wednesday Dec 14

An accumulation of three inches of snow fell on our driveway here in Estacada yesterday. This scientific number was determined by sticking a ruler into the snow. The high today, Thursday, is forecast to be 34 degrees, and it is predicted to warm up to a high of 45 degrees by next Tuesday.

This weather pattern, which is unusual for western Oregon in December (or even in February) has arrived thanks to La Nina, combined with a polar vortex sweeping down from Siberia. We had studded tires installed on the Matrix last week, and if you have ever seen our road down the hill into town, you'd understand why.

This is the second significant snowfall of the year, and more snow is predicted before the New Year. We lost our electricity both times, and expect it could happen frequently this winter. We have no alternative heat source, but the house is well insulated. This time the power was off for seven hours, but we only lost a degree per hour. If we'd fired up the BBQ on the deck, we could have had a hot meal, but since it was 27 degrees with wind blowing the snow horizontally, we were inspired to stay indoors.

Blessings and prayers for all who must venture out in this weather, and special thanks to the PGE workers who were out in the freezing cold, reconnecting our electricity.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fake News Hurts Real People - and our Democracy

This is an educational story about conspiracy theories. It gives the type of clues that tip one off to a story being fake news. One quick way to tell is: ask yourself "What is the payoff for the person or group peddling this conspiracy theory?" (Hint: if the payoff is big towards destroying a political rival or party, that is an immediate red flag to dig further, and to not be credulous.)

A quick gut check on conspiracy theories is this: Does it require a group of conspirators bigger than the national debt to hide it and keep the perps from being investigated, charged and convicted? If "yes", you can be pretty certain it is a "fake news" event, not something that really happened. I truly empathize with those who have lost touch with reality enough to believe that the government, and all the ordinary police and teachers and firemen etc., are involved in vast conspiracies and cover-ups involving Hillary Clinton, Sandy Hook massacre, and the 9/11 attack in 2001, to name a few.

The irresponsible people who are making money off these despicable lies should not be tolerated. An open society does not give criminals a license to steal the good name of other citizens, to trick naive people into committing felonies, and to interfere with our elections. They are the ones who should be brought to justice -- and that is no conspiracy!

The real people referenced in fake news stories and conspiracies are harmed, even put in danger of their lives, because of unbalanced people acting on fake news.

Last Sunday a young man, Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, North Carolina, fired a rifle inside a neighborhood D. C. pizzaria, terrorizing the employees and customers. He was there because a fake news story (CBS NEWS, Dec 5, 2016), led him to believe that the business was a cover for a pedophile ring. Now there is a conspiracy theory that Edgar was a plant, (Washington Post, Dec 5, 2016), sent to cover up the crimes by pretending to investigate them. Edgar has been doubly victimized by Fake News. He will be facing criminal charges for his actions.

Lucy Richards, of Tampa, Florida, was arrested Monday because she believed the conspiracy news about Sandy Hook, and threatened to kill one of the bereaved parents. (USA TODAY, Dec 7, 2016). She is facing up to 20 years in prison. Len Ponzer, the parent she threatened to kill, has not only lost his child in a mass shooting, but has been terrorized by an unbalanced woman who acted on Fake News. 

For the sake of our own sanity, we need to check our credulity at the door when listening to a politician or an "alternate" news site that is spewing slander and hate at a popular figure. This is how mobs are created, who then go and lynch an innocent person, just because "someone said".

That is why we have courts, we have independent committees in Congress, we have independent law enforcement in several overlapping jurisdictions such as city police, county sheriffs, state police, federal investigators such as FBI, CIA, Dept. of Homeland Security, etc. A total loss of confidence in ALL of them at once is required to believe in any of the currently popular conspiracy theories. For a rational person, that is truly - unbelievable.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Reposted: Twitter storm from Evan McMullin

 Evan McMullin @Evan_McMullin
.@briankoppelman: If Trump governs as an authoritarian like he has promised, it will be critical that Americans do the following 10 things: 

1. Read and learn the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Know that our basic rights are inalienable.
2. Identify and follow many credible sources of news. Be very well informed and learn to discern truth from untruth.
3. Watch every word, decision and action of Trump and his administration extremely closely, like we have never done before in America.
4. Be very vocal in every forum available to us when we observe Trump's violations of our rights and our democracy. Write, speak, act.
5. Support journalists, artists, academics, clergy and others who speak truth and who inform, inspire and unite us.
6. Build bridges with Americans from the other side of the traditional political spectrum and with members of diverse American communities.
7. Defend others who may be threatened by Trump even if they don't look, think or believe like us. An attack on one is an attack on all.
8. Organize online and in person with other Americans who understand the danger Trump poses and who are also willing to speak up.
9. Hold members of Congress accountable for protecting our rights and democracy through elections and by making public demands of them now.
10. And finally, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, have "malice toward none, with charity for all" and never ever lose hope!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Americans First and Patriots All

President Obama, on Nov. 9, speaking of the results of the election:

We’re not Democrats first. We're not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.
 That's what the country needs -- a sense of unity; a sense of inclusion,; a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law; and a respect for each other.
In the interests of working towards respecting each other, I am removing from my blog and Facebook accusations regarding questionable past behavior of our President-elect.

In the words of Hillary Clinton on Nov. 10:
 "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead,"
We cannot move forward hampered by the baggage of the past. Carrying grievances does not create anything but ill will. 

I am letting go of the past, in the hopes that "there is more that unites us than divides us." This does not mean I may not advocate for action when there is legislation pending that I think would harm the country. It just means I am going to take seriously the words of two people I greatly respect - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and follow their example.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

End of the "Year of Mercy"

Sunday Nov 20 marked the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, called by Pope Francis, and opened on 29th Nov 2015. Last Sunday was the end of the Year of Mercy. Is this now the end of Mercy?
The Jubilee Year of Extraordinary Mercy is ended, but Mercy is the Name of God (Deu.4:31, Neh.9:31), and is eternal.
(Deu. 4:31; Neh. 9:31)

Read more at: is eternal. Christian living means we would "be therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful"LUKE 6:36
Among the works of mercy are these:
  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Visit the sick
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive offenses willingly
  • Comfort the afflicted
In this season of Thanksgiving, we can show our thankfulness with works of mercy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

It Really REALLY matters Who You Trust

Do you trust Fox News to always tell the truth? Do you trust all those "FWD/FWD" emails you get to be accurate? Do you have a favorite website where you believe everything?

If so, you have embraced lies, big purple lies, and black horrible lies. How do I know that? Because people will lie to promote their cause, they will lie for enough $$$, they will lie because they can, and sometimes they don't mean to lie but are relying on false information. Do you think 'your' side of politics would never lie? You are in for a bad shock if you start fact checking them.

How can anyone know if they are getting the truth? Vigilance!

Fact check controversial news and rumors at SNOPES. For example, they show how it is a totally made-up claim to say that states do not count all the votes in a Presidential election.

Are you angry because Marian Robinson, Barack Obama’s mother-in-law, will receive a $160,000 government pension for babysitting her granddaughters during Obama’s presidency? You and lots of other people have been sucker punched - that is an example of fake news.  FACT CHECK is an excellent place to make sure you aren't being played by an organization that wants to make you angry to get your vote.

Reading the first page of a Google search will reveal controversies to investigate on a news item.

Does your favorite news and views site source and link? The DAILY KOS, for example, will print only confirmed and sourced stories.

Are you careful with what you eat? Would you grill a steak you found in your mailbox? Not fact checking the news is the same as eating food from an anonymous source - only instead of possibly poisoning your body, you may be poisoning your mind.

Take care out there, and fact check.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Quote From Hilllary

Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
The entire letter from Hillary may be seen at Medium.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Who is on the Lord's Side?

The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.
President Abraham Lincoln, 1862
How can we know which party is truly speaking God's will? There is only one infallible measure, and it is the Bible upon which our country was founded. But, you say, both sides quote the Bible.

Indeed, even the devil quotes the Bible. We need wisdom and discernment to avoid those who would twist the truth of God.

Did you know that the word "justice" is not found in the New Testament, not even once? But the word "mercy" appears throughout the Bible, over 250 times.

"Come, let us reason together", says the word of God. Does God want people to be slaves, as the Confederate States claimed? Slavery was indeed a feature of the cultures of the Old Testament, so what did God say about that? He commanded that all slaves, indentured servants and foreigners be set free every seven years, with a reward to begin their freedom. He commanded that every fifty years (a Jubilee), all debts were to be forgiven. I do not think God approves of throwing people in jail over debts or unpaid fines.

God tells us to do justly and love mercy. God tells us "the workman is worthy of his hire" and that he hates those who withhold the rightful wages of workers. Jesus came to set people free. Jesus said the Pharisees put laws onto people which they did not keep themselves and that he hated hypocrisy.

There are many who will quote one verse here, and another there, to prove their own viewpoints, but only by taking the entire Bible can we know the will of God. Did you know that God destroyed Soddom and Gommorah for their violence, and nowhere does it say it was for homosexuality. If you do not like this, do not argue with me, go argue with God.

Jesus tells his followers over and over "Do not be afraid." He lifts up the prostitute and the outcasts. He warns against passing judgement. 

Which party is for workers to be paid fairly? Which party judges others? Which party is for mercy? Which party wants more prisons? Which party endorses war? Which party works for peace?

Who did Jesus mean when he said "Many will say they did this or that in my name, and I will say to them, get away from you workers of iniquity."

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Choice between Unity and Division, between Love and Hate

I just watched the most inspiring rally with Michelle and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton giving speeches on loving our country, encouraging each other, opportunity for everyone.

After the live stream on UTube ended the chat section on the side of my screen began spewing such vile, ugly and hateful messages about Hillary that I could not reprint such hideous thoughts here.

The hatred and violence pouring out of that man's supporters is the most frightening thing I have ever seen: irrational anger, unproven accusations, unconstitutional demands and conspiracy plots.

People at his rallies displaying the swastikas that my father fought against in WWII, and the rebel flag that my ancestors fought against in the Civil War. People echoing him at his rallies, against everything and for nothing but hate and anger.

God help us all.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Media hoaxes not limited to Brad Pitt's "suicide"

Brad Pitt is alive and well, but those who have followed links on the Facebook post about his suicide, are victims of a malicious hoax aimed at stealing personal information from their Facebook profiles.

SNOPES on death of FBI agent today reveals that and other reported deaths as hoaxes, so if you read about "an FBI agent found dead this morning" your best bet is to check it out at SNOPES before you click on a harmful link.

The number of hoaxes regarding various people supposed to have been killed by Hillary is truly amazing - almost as amazing as the number of people who are willing to believe them.

I found the SNOPES on Huma Abedin investigation into the hoax of Hillary's aide Huma being tied to Muslim terrorists to be especially enlightening. After tracking down the origin of the hoax, and all of the lies, the origin of it all turns out to be -- Michele Bachmann.

Meanwhile, Huma is defended by many, including John McCain. Of course, if you despise veterans who were captured, I guess you won't believe him, either.

I never would have believed the amount of hate, racism, lies and ugliness of America's underbelly if it hadn't been uncovered by this most extreme of all elections. God help us to heal.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Media Distortion Creates False Impressions

Benghazi has been examined by at least eight panels, and not one uncovered major wrongdoing by Clinton. The Clinton Foundation created "conflicts of interest" — and saved countless lives from AIDS. (New York Times OP-ED by Nicholas Kristof, Nov 5, 2016.)
A "conflict of interest" means overlapping roles which  must then be balanced to serve the mandates for all duties equally well.
One way the media has lied about the Clinton Foundation is with pictures of Hillary standing with the king and queen of Morocco, above headlines about the Clinton Foundation receiving a large donation from them in return for her presence at the Clinton Global Initiative 2015, held in Morocco. The only problem with that is that she was NOT present at the Global Initiative in Morocco, and the picture is from an entirely different event. See? The headline says conflict of interest and pay for play, the picture backs it up, BUT if anyone bothers to read the story, Hillary was not there, no pay for play was happening. Pictures can be made to tell a lie (see, US Prayer Watch, and others).
I have read articles quoting the Republican national Committee chairman, implying that foreign governments have given money to Hillary Clinton, which PolitiFact rates as a untrue. They gave money to the Clinton Foundation, a charity (which has had its books audited by several charity watch dog groups and subsequently given top ratings)

Media creating false impressions is seen in the headlines at the Washington Free Beacon, Payroll and benefits transactions to Clinton total $254,000 since April 2015. We learn in the small print that "The FEC requires in-kind contributions to be posted under expenditures and contributions even though no money is being disbursed from the campaign". At the end of the story we learn that the other candidate "reimbursed $410,000 to himself and his other entities for payroll expenses, rent, hotel, and restaurant bills in December".

So the story is that Hillary gave her campaign $254,000 in-kind contributions, while that man paid himself $410,000 from his campaign. Does the headline match the story? Hardly!

How can we tell when a story is a combination of misleading headlines, misinformation and outright lies, and when it is giving us the news?

1. Consider the source! Print journals like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and hundreds of other highly rated newspapers and magazines care about their reputations. They have a history of winning journalistic awards such as the Peabody Award.

2. Do the stories claim special 'insider' knowledge that turns what the rest of the world is reporting upside down? That is usually a tip off  for an enterprise funded to spread propaganda.

3. Do they run a spectrum of editorial and opinion pieces, or are their op-ed articles representative of only one point of view?   If they publish opposing views, they are probably not a propaganda site.

4. Media not created to push a particular political view will cover the entire community with a breadth and a depth of news, not just one political party.

Readers of the Washington Times may claim it is not partisan, and that fans of Breitbart and its clones may insist they are only reporting facts, but look carefully for a willingness to correct errors, and to admit the 'other side' may have a point. Any journal that insists it has special truth and that the others are all wrong or misguided is frequently wrong. In this Information Age, with cell phone videos of news as it happens, with Twitter and Facebook and all the rest of the modern media, professional journalists still stand out by their careful treatment of fact versus speculation.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why does Putin fear Hillary Clinton as President of the United States?
"As of January, America began exporting crude oil for the first time in four decades. This March, it also began exporting more liquefied natural gas than it was importing for the first time since Dwight Eisenhower was president, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Timothy Hess tells Newsweek."
 "Russia depends on its revenue from oil and gas for more than half of its federal budget"...
 See Leah McGrath Goodman's thoroughly researched article of Nov. 3, exposing the reasons behind Putin's support of the other candidate, in Newsweek.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What really happened with Hillary's EMails?

Every time that man is in a tight spot (it happened in the debate a few times) he pivots away from answering the question and throws out accusations at Hillary. So let's talk about those emails. I wonder if there is one single thing anyone at his rallies could explain about the contents, the rules, the investigation, or the subjects.

The facts in Hillary Clinton's Emails shocked me because the reality is so different from what he says.

You could find a needle in a haystack with the amount of money and effort spent on Hillary's emails. There was no needle, nothing to pin on Hillary -- but give them credit -- they would have found it if it was in there. No matter how many more times they look for that needle they'll never find it.

They're looking in the wrong haystack. They ought to look in their own haystack -- in spite of the weeds, thorns and rot. There they might have better success at making the search worth it. Let's see all their emails - they're searching through hers. I wonder what they are hiding?

Watched the final Presidential Debate Tonight

UPDATED after the debate We watched the debate live on NBC tonight. Chris Wallace of Fox News asked  Hillary Clinton and her opponent about debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots, and fitness to be president, in the 90 minute debate.

Summary: Hillary closed the deal, and I believe she will be the next President of the United States.

Both candidates were asked if they would abide by the results of the election. Hillary said yes. He refused and said he would answer at the time, leaving open the question of whether he is trying to start an insurrection.
That man says "The election is rigged". 

Breaking:  The Carter Center Statement on the Integrity of US Elections
PolitiFact checks on election rigging
The Hill explains the process
Chris Ashby explains the process
Author of "How to Rig An Election"
The Nation claims the election IS rigged
CNN Gives 5 Reasons Elections Can't be Hacked 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Such Thing as "Just ... Talk"

"Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change." Ingrid Bengis

What kind of change do you want in the next president?

Goldibear borrowed some words to express his view of events.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Idaho Statesman endorses HIllary Clinton for President

The newspaper Idaho Statesman today endorsed Hillary Clinton.  This from a paper in a state so red it makes Texas look pink! 

Read more here:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Zen Gnau

If I could paint a Gnau
I would show it very bright,
sprouting hands and feet - and eyes of Light.
The Gnau is large, it fills near space
In space afar it has no place.
The Gnau is opportunity knocking
On the door of my mind in its waking.
The Gnau keeps pace with every ticking second
It looks back never, eyes only on the present.
It looks forward not, for now is all it’s got.
If I could paint a Gnau it could be seen
as the most marvelous creature that ever has been.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bengahzi - are you confused, perplexed and wondering? join the crowd

If you are confused, perplexed and wondering about Benghazi, you are with a crowd of like-minded people who are too busy working and taking the kids to soccer to sort out the government. (The other crowd thinks they are 'in the know' because that man told them what to think)

Are you willing to work at getting the story of what really happened? No simple sound bites, but excellent investigative journalism. One wonders how the House Committee could spend 4.6 million dollars and a year and a half without learning half as much.

The United States House Select Committee on Benghazi was chaired  by Republican Trey Gowdy (South Carolina 4th House District), creator of "the new McCarthyism".

I came across two excellent information dumps today, which sort out the lies.
At HuffPost, dated 10/11/2016, Benghazi Middleman Tied To Unaoil Bribery Scandal, Source Told FBI — “The Benghazi investigation you should actually read.” By Nick Baumann, Nick McKenzie, and Jessica Schulberg.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another Journal breaks with tradition to endorse Hillary

The recent edition of Foreign Policy, the journal for "insight and analysis into issues of national security and foreign policy", broke a forty year tradition of neutrality to endorse Hillary Clinton for President.

They made an unequivocal assessment about Donald Trump:
" '(That man') is the worst major-party candidate this republic has ever produced."

This publication which specializes in foreign policy issues calls Hillary Clinton " one of the best qualified candidates this country has produced since World War II.

Thanks to Gangster Octopus at the Daily Kos for this link and article.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Another Major Newspaper against that man - UPDATE

On Saturday, Oct 8, the Deseret News broke an 80 year tradition of neutrality on partisan politics, and DIS-endorsed that man, and asked him "to step down from his pursuit of the American presidency."

Today, Sunday Oct 9, the Columbus Dispatch, with a history of endorsing Republican candidates, endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Last Saturday I posted a link to the NPR article listing major newspapers which have endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.  I updated it with the Arizona Republic two days ago - a notable Hillary endorsement from a paper that hasn't endorsed a Democrat for President since its inception in 1890.

Today, the USA Today broke with its tradition of not making endorsements in elections, to publish an editorial opinion unanimous from its editorial board that says vehemently - 'whatever you do, do not vote for ('that man')'!

One thing all newspapers, whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, have in common, is their sense of historical perspective.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

but Don't just Take MY word for it... UPDATED

NPR published a list today of Republican newspapers endorsing Hillary Clinton. They could not find any major newspaper endorsing the other candidate. In a race that is touted as 'close', the amazing absence of endorsements for that man is the latest dog in this election that is not barking.

     Add The Arizona Republic to the list of newspapers who have never endorsed a Republican over a Democrat - not for over a hundred years - and they are endorsing Hillary Clinton this year.

Frequent questions about Hillary - why there is so much smoke if there is no fire are answered this twist on an old saying:

Where there is smoke, there is a smoke machine!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Do Good and Win

WikiTree - a totally FREE, unique website with the goal of building a single, global tree - is having a Source-a-Thon  the weekend of Oct. 1-3.
Come join the WikiTree family and help put a dent in its Unsourced profiles!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Enough Politics - More than Enough, Even

Surveys show that most voters have already made up their minds.

Now we countdown to Nov 8, when we can vote for our choices to represent us in the House and the Senate and as President.

My choice will be driven by my belief that our country can be better and do better than we have, that we can overcome prejudice and fear of differences - whether they be of skin color, religion, language, customs or whatever. I believe that we have more that unites us than divides us. I believe a Christian is someone who demonstrates kindness and meekness, gentleness and peace. Hate is not a Christian value.

I want an America with liberty and justice for all.

Returned to Genealogy and Research: Got Zotero

Zotero is "the only research tool that automatically senses content in your web browser, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click."

"Zotero collects all your research in a single, searchable interface."
After reading The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati (aka Rosina Lippi) I visited her web pages, where she recommends Zotero.  Zotero is free, open source and just what I need. It is what every genealogist, student, political activist and writer needs.  My sincere thanks to all the Zotero contributors and to the following organizations for founding and developing Zotero.

"Zotero is a project of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and was initially funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation."

My deepest gratitude to Rosina Lippi for her generosity in sharing this fabulous research tool, and great appreciation for her latest book, The Gilded Hour. My favorite kind of book is one that has a foundation of meticulous research, set in an earlier time, with a page-turning plot and characters who come to life. Writing as Sara Donati, Rosina Lippi delivers all that and more in The Gilded Hour.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Shannon Dingle - From my Heart to Her Pen

It has puzzled old friends who knew me when I was active intervening at abortion clinics, to offer help and care to desperate women. It has puzzled old friends who knew me to vote the Republican ticket top to bottom every year. They wonder what has made me change, to vote for Democrats. I have not changed.

Shannon Dingle, mother, pro-life speaker and Christian, writes all that is in my heart and more. I think it applies to more than myself - that she speaks for a large number of women who see a better way to express pro-life beliefs.

What makes a person pro-life? Read Shanon's blog to find out what pro-life means.  It may not be what you think.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A wonderful Week

It was a wonderful week - I lost two pounds (and I do not want to find them again).  I love 'shopping' in my own closet - for clothes that fit for the first time in a long time.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Straining out Elephants and swallowing Gnats

I peeked at the news this morning, after seeing the Supreme Court ruled on guns and domestic abusers. I applaud their decision to uphold the law depriving domestic abusers of their rights to own a gun.

Here is a selection from the news on the latest ruling:

"The plaintiffs pleaded guilty in state court to misdemeanor assault charges after slapping or shoving their partners. Later, each man was found to have firearms and ammunition in their possession in violation of a federal law affecting convicted domestic abusers." [from NPR - Oregon Public Broadcasting]

 Both plaintiffs argued that the weapons ban should not apply to them because their misdemeanor cases were for "reckless conduct" rather than intentional abuse.

Five of the Supreme Court Justices upheld the law: "34 States plus the District of Columbia—defined such misdemeanor offenses to include the reckless infliction of bodily harm," Kagan wrote." [Huff Post]

Justice Thomas asked the attorney defending the conviction of the two men whether any other misdemeanor conviction could cause a defendant the loss of "a constitutional right.

"He inveighed against the majority for agreeing to allow a single minor reckless assault deprive a citizen of an enshrined constitutional right to own guns. "We treat no other constitutional right so cavalierly," he concluded." [from Mother Jones]

Since no other Constitutional right can deprive some other innocent person of their lives in one second, I can only conclude that Justice Thomas and those who agree with him have stopped engaging with the elephant sized arguments over gun rights, and settled for battling gnats.

An acquaintance recently lost his driver's license because illness and aging made him unable to pass a test for logic and coordination.  But we do not test gun owners for rational thinking or for coordination.  Do we take away their gun permits if they become senile or lose their eyesight? Where is the logic in that?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Seek Peace and Pursue It

This morning at  Daily Gracelines I found this quote from a well-beloved saint, Francis of Assisi:

"While you are proclaiming
peace with your lips, be careful
to have it even more fully in 
 your heart."

What is the opposite of peace? Anger? There's a lot of that going around these days. I avoid reading the news, it is so full of anger - angry quotes from angry people sharing their anger at events staged to increase the anger. 

Anger is a luxury we cannot afford in a world filled with nuclear bombs. Pray for peace, speak peace, hope for peace in people of power - the alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Break

A twelve day break from tracking habits, blogging, doing anything but counting calories and babying the right leg. Thankful to be retired and able to 'play turtle' once in awhile.

Cookies still the best tool for weight loss ever. "Shopping" in my own closet for what I enjoy wearing, now that it fits again, is fun, fun, fun.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bad Hair Day

After a decade of grey and salt/pepper hair color, I followed an impulse to 'go blonde'. It is always a happy coincidence when one of my impulses works out well, but this was not the case on Friday.

The package said 'medium blonde'. It looks more like faded brown.The best that can be said for it is that it matches my age spots.  Ah well, it will grow out in a few months.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

John Muir - Father of our National Parks

John Muir Quotes and vistas

Our family toured many of the great National Parks when I was a child:
Mt Hood, Carlsbad Caverns, Yellowstone and Old Faithful, the Painted Desert, Mt Rushmore, the Ozarks, many other works of nature. I didn't know then what an unusual chance it was for me to see, up close and personal, a living buffalo, a brown bear, deer, elk, eagles, prairie dogs, sea lions, the variety of wildlife.

To read of politicians seriously urging the selling of our national lands, the destruction of public lands in exchange for coal, tar oil, and mines,. is to find a gap of understanding too vast for me to bridge. What poverty of spirit will trade untrammeled nature for dollars?

Monday, April 11, 2016

I removed 120 pounds of Stress on my KNEES

Did you know that weight on the body is not a one-to-one ratio of stress on the knees?  According to WEBMD, each pound of weight lost equals FOUR pounds of stress taken off the knees. No wonder my knees creek, crack and groan less often - since last September they enjoy 120 pounds less stress when I walk.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What is a right hip flexor strain?

A right hip flexor strain is what has been waking me up in pain, it's what has made me limp and what has interfered in my routine at the gym. It is what I thought was a Baker's cyst - (diagnosing from Internet sites is unsafe). So the Physical Therapist showed me an exercise that helps the hip flexor, which I'm supposed to do ten times a day.

Getting fit can be complicated. It is simple if you are young and healthy - just eat right, move more, get enough sleep. Geriatric fitness is a different animal. My yoga teacher thought I should take "chair yoga". Thanks but no thanks. I'll get the hip flexor fixed and come back later.

It might take more effort to get to a reasonably stable routine, but hope gleams brightly, fueled by success at weight loss and at weight exercises. Small improvements add up. Just keep going.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Sunshine two days in a row! Daffodils blooming in the front yard, gladiolas sprouting in the back. Oh joy, spring is here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

4 to 4 again - with more of the same to come.

The beat goes on, more 4 to 4 decisions coming right up. Ironically, some of the tied votes mean a defeat for McConnell's side. See more on the Supreme Court chaos at the Washington Post.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Who is Merrick Garland?

See his biography at the Washington Post.

Why did President Obama nominate him for the Supreme Court? See the biography linked above.

Why does Senator McConnell refuse to hold hearings on his nomination? Again, see biography linked above, and please let us know if you can figure out who McConnell thinks he can find that is more qualified than Judge Garland.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Chronic Pain and Dieting - a Raging Conflict

I found a name for the swelling at the back of my knee: it is a Baker's cyst. When the cyst is torn open, the fluid flows down into the calf, swelling the leg. Both conditions are painful as I can attest.

The problem with chronic pain is that food is a comfort normally applied to hurts and this becomes a challenge if one is also on a diet.

Add to this the aches and twinges of a strained muscle near last year's hernia repair, and resisting the comfort of tasty food is more than a challenge - it is a raging conflict that goes on all day, day after day.

I consider it a great victory to actually be losing weight, though more slowly than I'd like. It helps that the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (location of will power, see post dated March 7) can be strengthened by adding glucose (sugar in any form) to the brain. So eating a single cookie actually increases will power. (My cookies are from Dr Siegal. It is remarkable that they always taste delicious to me and after six months I'm not tired of them.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not Treason

Having asked the question:

If it is not treason (to deny due process and justice to appellants in Federal court and to work at hindering the work of a branch of government) then what do we call it?

I looked up the definition of treason at the Meriam-Webster dictionary:

the crime of trying to overthrow your country's government

and at The US Code (Legal Information Institute)
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort

I found out that even Jeffereson Davis, president of the Confederate States during the Civil War, was not convicted of treason.

So, with apologies, I retract my supposition. McConnell is not guilty of treason.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Breaking News: Senator McConnell Erases the Supreme Court

Consequences to the intransigence of Republican Senators started yesterday, with a decision tied 4 to 4 in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore. When the Supreme Court is tied on a decision, the ruling of the lower court stands. It is as if the Supreme Court has been erased, on every decision they have a tied vote. 

A tied vote was not possible when all nine judges were alive. By refusing to do their duty, and vote on Judge Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court, McConnell and his gang have in effect nullified the third branch of government.

Decisions in three other cases were not tied - see details in the SCOTUS Blog. Would it be accurate to say that McConnell has erased only 25% of the Supreme Court? That could equal thirty-one random cases in a normal court calendar. 

The Supreme Court decides about 130 cases a year. Every week they must evaluate 130 cases to decide if they will be heard by the court, a burden normally divided between nine judges.

I believe that the Senators who are nullifying the Supreme Court are committing  a form of treason, because they are deliberately denying justice and a fair hearing to numbers of appellants while at the same time crippling the work of the third branch of government. I do not believe in escalation of personal attacks on opposite political parties, and a review of my blog will show no demagoguery. 

I do not know what else to call it but treason. If it isn't treason, what is it? 

For details of upcoming cases that may be affected by having less than a full court, see this article at the Huff Post.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Thirty-one times Senator McConnell has sworn the oath of office every Senator takes every year they return to the Senate, which says in part:

"without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office"

His honor is in the mud, he is repudiating his oath.

He is violating his Constitutional duty to give his "advise and consent" on the President's nominees - and not just Merrick Garland, but many other judges of lesser courts.

Mitch McConnell is trampling on the rights of the people to have "justice for all" and a "fair and speedy trial".

Friday, March 18, 2016

Minus Five Pounds in a Month

Staying on the Cookie Diet (after some lapses), and celebrating losing five pounds in the past month. That makes 31 pounds lost in six months. Thank you Dr. Siegal.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

They Think It's All About Them

What about the people who are waiting for justice? What about the cases waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court? Do not dismiss the urgent need for a ninth justice with a simple observation that the court is still in session, that cases are being tried. No!

The importance of cases that go all the way to the Supreme Court deserve a hearing by a court of nine judges. The people who have spent years of their lives and untold amounts of money on lawyers deserve a complete court of the best legal minds judging their case.

They do not deserve the posturing of Senators who smirk at the camera and tell us they "want the people to have a voice" in choosing the next judge. The people have a voice - one they elected by a large majority twice, with no hanging chads! If the Senators cared about "the people" they would care enough to do their jobs and hold hearings to "advise and consent" on the current nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. They would do their Constitutional, sworn duty. IF they cared, about the people.

The newscasters, the opinion columns, all sound and look like it's all about the Senators blocking the hearings - like it's all about them.

I doubt if the appellants waiting for justice would agree. What happened to "justice for all"? This looks more like justice at the convenience and whim of the rich and powerful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Painted themselves into a Corner

Every Senator takes an oath of office every year they return to the Senate, which says in part:

"without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office"

Now that President Obama has done his job, and has nominated Merrick Garland, (currently the Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit), it's time for the Senate to just do their job, which is to advise and consent.

The following Republican Senators praised and voted to confirm Merrick Garland for the DC Circuit Court, considered the second most important court in the land: "Hatch, along with current Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), Dan Coats (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John McCain (R-AZ), and Pat Roberts (R-KS)".

Judge Garland has served with such distinction that (conservative and Bush nominee) Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts "praised Garland’s “reasonableness”, memorably stating: “Any time Judge Garland disagrees, you know you’re in a difficult area.”

One wonders how the Republican Senators are going to get out of the corner that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) painted them all into, right after the death of Justice Scalia. In hindsight, vowing to obstruct any attempt by President Obama to fill the Supreme Court vacancy may have been premature, not to say downright rash.

Newspaper editorial boards around the nation demand action from the Senate, while Senator McConnell ignores the cries of the nation for him to just do his job.

Monday, March 14, 2016


"Good things come to those who wait."

I don't know who said that, and I'm sure there are many who would disagree, but as another saying goes -

"Patience is its own reward."

Which I suppose is another way of saying the same thing.

I am not innately patient. Indeed, that must be a rare virtue to occur naturally, or we wouldn't have so many sayings to encourage patience.

Patience is not a passive state. It is not mere resignation, waiting for whatever happens.

Patience has a goal, and works actively towards it, and steadily, without getting discouraged or angry that it requires more work to reach the end result.

I'm learning to treasure patience, and even enjoy it. Having set difficult goals for myself this year, I must patiently pursue them, or be a liar to myself. They are personal goals - no one can keep me from attaining them except me. Patience is my friend and partner, helping me work through the hard spots.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pros and Cons - and outcomes

In the war on fat, which I declared last September, there is that which works for me, and that which makes it harder.

Dr Siegal's cookie Diet
membership at Timbertown Gym, coaching and encouragement
Fitbit that Goldibear gave me
inspiration from Dr. Siegal, Dr. Raty, Gretchen Rubin, other authors
my very strong desire to get fit and healthy, and not become a burden to my family

my age - 70 - slower metabolism, less muscle
amount of weight to lose - 25 more pounds
habits of being 'emotional' eater - food the answer to anxiety, anger, boredom, etc.
evidence of my history - yo-yo syndrome
3 prescriptions, that tend to cause weight gain and/or slow weight los

I'm winning the war on fat.  Although my weight hasn't changed from what it was two weeks ago, and a pulled muscle has kept me out of the gym for over a week, I'm burning (slightly) more calories than what I'm eating. My measurements are moving slowly in the right direction and my clothes fit better. I have more energy and a good mood. The cookies keep me satisfied and on the stressed-out days I burn the calories I eat, just not as many. Not gaining is winning, too.

The cookies still taste delicious. I never expected to see the day when I would be keeping my New Year's Resolutions in March! It feels very good indeed.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Work that is Worth the Effort

The following message was posted to my profile at WikiTree today.  Paula's words encouraged me so much, and I want to share them because they are also meant for the members of the Magna Carta project, and could apply to so many of the members of WikiTree who carefully document profiles of our mutual ancestors in quiet obscurity. It is work that is worth the effort - let's all keep on keeping on!

The following message from Paula J was posted on your WikiTree profile.

We are still working on the Henry Wyche profile and connections. We removed a bad connection (wife) as his wife proved to be unknown as you noted.  There is still much work to do going down the line towards present day but I wanted to thank you for the solid foundation that you and Magna Carta project put up that keeps us from having to clean up and source earlier ancestors whose profiles are in great shape!! 
It is like a huge gift! 

The descendants are quite a mess and we are putting up as many profiles as we can to prevent future confusion. Like most southern families, names are reused so often it is difficult to untangle who belongs where!

It just makes me appreciate your work all the more!! Thanks again!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Where do we keep our Will Power?

Making changes in my habits, especially exercise and eating, requires using my will power. Today I found out where my will power is located - in my ventral medial prefrontal cortex and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.  Oh, well of course. ummm, where is that?

This image at Wikipedia puts them both near the front of the brain. Being able to picture where my will power is kept does not help me to access it when I need more of it. For tips on how to do that, see these ideas published at Livestrong.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Watch the debates on March 9th and 10th

We have watched most of the debates between candidates - of both parties.  I wish everyone who plans to vote for president would do this. We have learned about all the candidates, and have talked over what we learned, what we agree with, and how we will vote.

There are still more debates to come.  If you haven't seen the debates for both party's candidates, you have the opportunity to do so, on March 9th and March 10th. See for yourself what it is all about.  I can only say I have been shocked, surprised and informed.

Friday, March 4, 2016



Jenny Maria Aspegren, my great-grandmother, was born 4 March 1869 at Karsikko farm, Simo, Lappi, Finland.  Today is the 147th anniversary of her birth. Karsikko is an isolated farm near the Gulf of Bothnia, where the Northern Lights can be seen about two hundred times in a year.

Jenny married Tapani Nayha 3 January 1892. While he was away working as a river boat captain, Jenny took care of the farm and their family. They had nine children, all of whom grew to maturity, at a time when the child mortality was 50%. Jenny farmed and preserved food, cooked and cleaned. She was very handy, and she made wooden skis for the children.She was an outstanding tailor, able to make men's suits and do all the fancy work on fine clothes, with French seams and other details. Jenny was an excellent cook and she passed her skills on to her children.  When WWII came, and staples such as salt, sugar, flour and coffee were scarce, Jenny's daughters in America sent regular bundles of food back home.

Jenny died 20 December 1944. She was 75 years old.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Samuel Bacon, baptized 5 March 1636, at Stretton, Rutland, England, is my 7th great-grandfather.  The village of Stretton lies on the east side of the Roman road which here forms the Great North Road. "As early as 1636 there was a suit brought against the lords of the manor, stating that 'out of covetousness and malignity,' since the beginning of Charles's reign, they had destroyed twelve ancient farms, with land that had been arable time out of mind, and depopulated them, thrusting out all the ancient tenantry and farmers, their wives, children and servants, enclosed the common ground and turned the farm lands from tillage to pasture."
Parishes: Stretton, in A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1935), pp. 145-151 British History Online, [accessed 29 October 2015]. 

Nathaniel Bacon is found in Barnstable, Massachusetts on a list of "First Settlers Barnstable 1640", and Samuel his younger brother is later found with his own land, between Nathaniel's farm and that of  Samuel's father-in-law, Richard Foxwell. The timing shows us at least one reason they had for leaving England to settle on Cape Cod.

Samuel married the girl next door, Martha Foxwell, in 1659, and they had their first two children in Barnstable. Samuel's farm was small - less than five acres, and his family was growing. The town of Woodbridge, New Jersey, wanted good farmers, and offered land grants of 170 acres. Samuel moved his family (most likely by boat) in 1669 to Woodbridge, where he had a dock called "Bacon's Landing". John, William, Nathaniel, Joseph, Jeremiah and Ann were born to Samuel and Martha at Woodbridge, New Jersey.

In 1682, the same year William Penn founded his great Quaker city of Philadelphia, Samuel Bacon claimed a plantation of 260 acres on the Cohansey River, which empties into the Delaware River south of Philadelphia. Samuel named his new estate "Bacon's Adventure". This move was also likely made by boat. Samuel served on the Provincial Assembly of West Jersey in 1685, and he was a Justice of the Court for Salem County in 1688. At some point he became a Quaker, and records of his family are found in their archives. Samuel Bacon died in November of 1695, age 59, at Salem, New Jersey. He is an immigrant ancestor and early settler of Massachusetts and New Jersey.

 Relationship Trail

1. April is the daughter of Kenneth Alvin Dellinger 
    2. Ken is the son of Clara May (Barchus) Dellinger 
       3. Clara is the daughter of Constant T. Barchus 
          4. Constant is the son of Sarah (Bacon) Barchus 
             5. Sarah is the daughter of David Bacon 
                6. David is the son of Enos Bacon 
                   7. Enos is the son of Joseph Bacon
                      8. Joseph is the son of Joseph Bacon 
                         9. Joseph is the son of Samuel Bacon 

This trail tells us that Samuel is the seventh great grandfather of April.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sunshine, Daffodils and Hail

Yesterday the cheerful yellow of the first daffodils adorned our yard. The sunshine blessed them, and with hail at the same time. Oh yes, this is definitely Oregon.

Never mind, if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Beautiful. Strong. Resolute. Courageous. Women: Get Inspired.

I watched these short videos of women around the world who define beauty, courage and strength of body and soul, and got inspired.

Get Inspired.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Simple -- but not Easy

It is not always easy to make a new habit.

In fact, it is seldom easy, even though it may be simple.

One may ask why, (if I really truly want to create a new habit), it would be hard to do.  Gretchen Rubin, in her book Better Than Before - Change Your Habits, change Your Life, helps me understand myself better, and answers why.  Better yet, she lays out the "HOW", step by step, with notes on pitfalls to avoid and what to do when I fail.

Failing, it turns out, is part of change. One reason I love Gretchen is her candid notes on her own attempts to change. She sees a failure as a clue to success, an arrow pointing to an as yet unrecognized challenge that will be analyzed and overcome.

Adopting the tools Gretchen recommends is helping me to also adopt her attitude towards a lapse in my effort to create new habits. A major tool, monitoring my progress, not only shows me where I lapse, it shows me where I succeed.

So far, I'm sticking to my diet six days out of seven the past week, practicing oral hygiene daily but not as many times as my goal, blogging most days but not every day and practicing origami not at all which makes me think it is not important enough to me at this time. A mixed report card, not "straight A's", which is fine because the goal is not perfection, the goal is change, and that is most definitely occurring. Daily.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Elliptical is Wonderful Torture Machine

Yesterday at the gym I was introduced to a wonderful torture machine - the elliptical trainer.  After two minutes I was panting to get off and straining to keep going. My coach, Daina, commented that I needed to limit myself to five minutes next time. Limit myself? {spontaneous laughter} Greatest benefit so far?  After the elliptical, the treadmill seems very easy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Money is Speech - and Corporations are People

Do we want to replace Justice Scalia with someone like him? Do we want a justice of the Supreme Court who thinks that money is speech and corporations are people too?

Only a lawyer could argue that money equals free speech and remove all the safeguards against undue influence. How, I ask, does permitting a wealthy person to contribute unlimited funds to elect the candidate of their choice make all citizens equal? Everyone has one head, one mouth. We are equal in speech. Citizens United will stand in history, along with the three-fifths rule and the Dred Scott decision, as being among the worst legislation ever imposed on America.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Constitutional Crisis of Government - Overturning the Balance of Power


"The President shall be commander in Chief... He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, ...and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and consuls, Judges of the supreme court,...." 

Oath of Office of United States Senators - from Senate website

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Taking the Oath - from Senate website
At the beginning of a new term of office, senators-elect take their oath of office from the presiding officer in an open session of the Senate before they can begin to perform their legislative activities. From the earliest days, the senator-elect—both the freshman and the returning veteran—has been escorted down the aisle by another senator to take the oath from the presiding officer.

On the Spirit of Laws, by Montesquieu, published 1748
by Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, aka Montesquieu

as cited in "The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America", compiler Verna M. Hall, (New York, New York, Iverson Associates, 1983), page 137

[On Necessary balance of power]
"Were the executive power not to have a right of restraining the encroachments of the legislative body, the latter would become despotic; for as it might arrogate to itself what authority it pleased, it would soon destroy all other powers,

"But it is not proper, on the other hand, that the legislative power should have a right to stay the executive.... [for it has natural limits].

"The executive power, pursuant of what has been already said, ought to have a share in the legislature by the power of rejecting; otherwise it would soon be stripped of its prerogative, but should the legislative power usurp a share of the executive, the latter would be equally undone,

Montesquieu, De Tocqueville, John Locke, Samuel and John Adams, Gov. William Bradford of Plymouth Plantation, an abridged Magna Carta, and other texts on the formation of America are quoted at length in this useful reference book which proposes that religion is "indispensable to the maintenance" of the Republic [De Tocqueville, page 372].

Let the president, twice elected by a majority of voters, do his duty to nominate and appoint a judge to fill the vacancy on the supreme court.

Let the senators obey the constitution, to advise and consent. 

Let the citizens call anything else by what it is - an attempt to overthrow the Constitution and destroy the balance of power in government.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Downton Abbey Ends

Tonight we watched the next-to-the-last episode of Downton Abbey.

The formal manners, fabulous fashions and fascinating characters of six seasons are about to come to an end. What is it about this particular drama that has inspired loyal fans all over the world? Perhaps because it shows people being kind, ambitious, worried, loyal, brave, angry, gentle, confused, loving - in short, just living their lives.  When the butler asked "What do you find so amusing'?, the housekeeper could have been describing the entire show with her answer: "Life, Mr. Hughes, just life."

Friday, February 19, 2016


Was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia subject to undue influence?

This article at the Washington Post raises serious questions about influence on certain of his decisions.

While I strongly disagreed with some of his decisions, I wanted to believe he made them from principles of law. Now I have grave doubts.

If past Supreme Court decisions were made in favor of private influence, and the legal arguments were a cynical covering for personal interests, does the next court have a duty to review those decisions?

The questions and consequences of influence on Supreme Court judges are too important to ignore. There must be a thorough and impartial investigation of Justice Scalia's trip to the luxury compound, Cibolo Creek Ranch, and answers to who paid for his plane fare, and who were the other guests. What little we already know is very disturbing. The only way to assure the independence and integrity of our highest court is to follow the questions that are raised by his actions, regardless of where they lead.

Justice Scalia's refusal in the past to recuse himself from a particular case where he was considered to have a conflicting interest does not inspire confidence in the circumstances of his death. Justices have traditionally made full disclosures of any gifts, including air fare, speaking fees, etc. Now we are left with sad questions about Antontin Scalia, and what he really was doing at the ranch where he died.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Down three pounds since Jan 30th

It is not easy to lose weight at 70. Too little muscle, too much body fat, not enough exercise, a lifetime of negative eating habits - little wonder that few people even try to get fit at 70.

I feel as if I have a secret weapon in the war on fat - cookies! Not just any cookies, but Dr. Siegal's Cookies. Designed to satisfy cravings, keep blood sugar stable, and a lot of other good things.  If I kept on the diet more perfectly, I could have lost four pounds instead of three. But who is perfect?

Now my weight is in territory I have not seen in over twelve years! I have more energy, feel more graceful. The Cookie Diet helped me through Halloween followed by Thanksgiving followed family birthdays, Christmas and New Year's Day celebrations.

I'm an emotional eater, and yes, there have been stressful days when I might have gone for the junk food - except my cookies satisfy that craving.

Be good to yourself and take a look at Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet. It is working for me. I know how hard it is to lose weight, and wish for anyone with a desire to get fit to have the best tools available.