Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Five Days In

So, it's clear that the landscape is changing so fast and furious it's like a flood washing away much of what was built over the last eight years.  Was it so bad?  Is this a sign of better things to come?  I don't think so.  I think it's a sign of petulance and arrogance.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is of the 2009 inauguration of 44th President Barack Obama, and is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.
From News and Guts
*credit for compilation: Karen Cornett-Dwye

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Election Election Election

I'm more worried about this election cycle than any other I've been through, because I've seen the devastation that can come from a president who doesn't have a firm grasp of consequences.  And it's not just that there's still a small possibility that the US might elect a president that sends us off the rails.

It's the high level of rancor over the election campaign.  How do we get past the divisive rhetoric that we're seeing today?  I want my candidate to win, but I want them also then be able to govern, to rally the people of the US to do better, to be better people.

I think of it this way--the election on November 8 is the gateway to a new beginning.  I'll take what happens, whatever it is, whatever my worries.  But I want a functional government.  My worry is that politicians will see opportunity in the vast divide to rally a portion of the populace to their side and demonize the rest, leaving us at odds with each other, prey to forces that loom.

Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  Today's rancor seems to me to be a crisis similar to the one Lincoln faced, a country divided by an issue that still hasn't healed.

It isn't one issue that divides our country today; it's many.  The multiple challenges our country faces--mounting and crippling debt, threats from abroad, political gridlock, and environmental devastation--together present a crisis that needs decisive action.

We must face this crisis with seriousness and purpose, forging a way forward with respect for differing opinions and positions.  And we want a leader who will inspire us with the values that the founders of the country did.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kitchen remodel summer 2016

Here are a few photos showing how we spent most of our summer. Whew!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Home Improvement Version 28.212

The big old house we bought years ago keeps insisting that we do something about her sagging good looks, and this summer it's the kitchen that's getting all the attention.  The poor old kitchen, with its 50's style metal cabinets, the plywood paneling "improvements" to the door and drawer fronts, and the poor lighting and electrical setup, has been crying out for years to be upgraded.  But nothing has bugged me more than the wonky floor that dropped more than an inch just from one side of the back door to the other.

The floor culprits were several--stones and cement packed between the joists on one end that over time heaved up the floor, and on the other end plumbers and electricians who sawed away joists to nothing.  Add to that the fact that the kitchen was at one time expanded out over what I think was a little porch that sloped away from the house.

Nice mix, huh?  So now I'm at the stage where the floor is (mostly) flat and level, with the subfloor in place and electricians on the wait for me to put in new joists for the ceiling.  Cool.  It's been slow going, with lots of other stuff going on, but we're getting there.

Note that we'll also enjoy some warmer floors in the kitchen, so notorious for being cold in the winter!
Stones and crumbled cement are now removed from the inner wall and work continues on planing joists to even them out. 

Note the light colored areas where new joists are in place or old ones planed to level them out. And insulation!  

Solid floors, 3/4 inch tongue and groove wafer board, glued and solid.  No squeaks!  
Now on to the ceiling!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jack Walters and Toyland at the Madison Public Library Today

We've had a good spell of writers appearing from the woodwork in Madison.  Eve Fisher, Eric Johnson, Jack Walters, and Ben Jones have all been acknowledged for their contributions to mystery and history in the past few weeks, and the attention continues tonight as Jack Walters discusses his book Toyland and how to get a novel from the inside to the outside.  Starts at 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Long Long Winter

The winter this year seems to drag along like an old blanket.  It makes me think of the Robert Bly poems about the winter and cold, one of the few poets who approaches the effect of winter on the psyche.
Our winters in South Dakota require a changed mind about how a person lives his life, still retaining a connection to the patterns and seasons of nature and the cycle of death and rebirth.  It's NOT always sunny in South Dakota.  Sometimes, it's damn cold, and the wind blows, and we huddle against it.  That takes some work, and planning.  One day, you might be planning to get outside, take your skis, get in a little exercise, and enjoy the sunlight.  After all, it's the weekend!
But that morning the wind is hurling last week's snow through the air, and an outing loses its savor.
We learn to roll with those disappointments.  We recognize that we are small, we need warmth, and we sometimes need to bow to the seasons and protect the heat our bodies make.