Nobody needs these doctors anyway…

One of the largest fusses in the previous election was the amount of immigrants in the United States and how they needed to be sent back “home”.

Home, of course, being a relative word.

Case in point.  Two prominent neurologists in Texas are facing immediate deportation due to a clerical error. These two provide specialized care for both adult and pediatric patients with injuries and syndromes which are causing them great pain and disability.

Doesn’t matter.

They must go and go now.

Read more about it here.

If you live in a rural area, one of the comments you will often hear is that the patient wishes that they could understand their doctors.  This communication issue is not because of hearing, it’s because of non-native American doctors who are trying to communicate in a language which is not their first tongue.  Many of the patients are older with some issues in hearing, but it’s the accents which cause the most problems.

Which brings me to this point.  In rural areas, it is often doctors from other parts of the world who provide the treatment.  If  you don’t think so, just look at the staff listings of your local hospital and pay attention to how many have names quite uncommon to the area in which they serve.

Rural areas often have enough of a problem getting doctors.  Making it difficult for doctors to come because of their country of birth or making them leave because they do not yet have the required citizenship leaves the rural areas at great disadvantage.

What part of the healthcare plan is this?

Care for some fruits or veggies?

The Immigration officials are very busy these days, rounding up the undocumented workers and keeping them in detention centers to be processed.  This is making many of the American public very happy because “those people” are being hounded out of the country.

But, like all things, there is another side to this story.

First of all, I believe that all workers should be documented who desire to work in this country.  But, having said that, it is in the best interests of several segments of the economy to use individuals who are unencumbered with paperwork that would require higher wages and more paperwork on the parts of the employer.

The agriculture industry is one of those areas.

Growing and packing and shipping food to keep up with American’s growing appetite for all things fresh and healthy is a major part of the American economy.  While many still think of farming as a robust family small business, in truth, agriculture is often a major big business enterprise.  And often big business finds big ways to cut costs.

Employing farm industry workers who are undocumented is one such way.  Foodies often do not think about exactly how those fruits and vegetables arrived at their chopping blocks.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that 16% of all agriculture workers are undocumented and that the number of field workers (those who pick or gather the fruits and vegetables) is estimated at 70% being undocumented.

As chicken processing plants discovered to their chagrin when their states clamped down on undocumented workers, without those individuals, very little work was being done.

In the agricultural fields, there is a limited amount of time to pick these items before they are past the point of being viable to be shipped.  Without picking, they will simply rot in the fields.

Consider that for a moment.  In the land of plenty, plenty will rot away.  What doesn’t get picked, doesn’t get shipped and doesn’t make it to your local grocery story.  What amount does make it will be priced so high that most will forgo purchasing these fruits and vegetables.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that over one thousand farms in New York state alone will either fold altogether or will be so hurt that it will take years to recover where they were last year, if they recover at all.

It is understandable why undocumented individuals have been used to work where others will not.  But honestly, does it make sense to destroy industry to hold fast to a campaign promise which was not thoroughly thought out?

Most of us learned at an early age that when you throw a pebble in the water, it makes ripples that have an effect on the area around it.

Our government officials and politicians apparently never spent much time skipping rocks.

Maybe when their plates are empty, they might consider why understanding ripples is so important.

Will they ever get it?

Vice President Mike Pence is taking a lot of heat for a photo which shows him and a room full of men discussing what part women’s health has in the proposed but now withdrawn Trump/Ryan/Republican health care package.

I have the feeling that most of the men in this picture do not honestly understand what the backlash is about this picture.

More than likely it’s very easy to assume that because you are a man in a powerful position in Washington, D.C. that you are there to act in the best interests of the entire population, even when you can’t begin to understand what half of them will go through simply because you aren’t their gender.

Paternalism sounds so benign.

The word conjures up an image of a genteel man looking out lovingly at his family and bearing the load of making the hard decisions.  The wisdom of his maleness makes it possible for him to render opinions and set rules that keep everyone moving in concert.

Of course, some of the individuals in that dance of life are assumed to have lesser kinds of importance.

And here is the gist of the problem with this photograph and with this meeting.  Where are the women?  Are there no members of Congress who would/should/can be included in a meeting discussing the needs of women?  Did anyone even consider that women might want/need to be included?  Or, was there a concerted effort to make sure that no women attended?  The latter being the worst of the questions listed.

Health care and “women’s issues” are not just problems for women–they encompass the entire society.  Women who get substandard prenatal care produce children who may be born underweight, addicted, or lacking the right vitamin at the right time to prevent proven preventable syndromes.  This produces individuals who will need assistance, probably for the remainder of their lives and who might not become productive, contributing members of society.

Women’s health matters.  Leaving women out of the discussion matters too.  The discussion is barely more than gossip when the individuals involved are not invited to the table and to the discussion.

We don’t need daddies.  We need respect.

Tired of Internet “experts” telling me what to do…

I’m a huge fan of the internet.  When it was first around (with the roaming dinosaurs), I was one of the first to get on board and hone my skills.  Heck, at one point I trained over 100 people how to use the internet.  A huge fan, that’s me.

Part of what I love about the internet is the way in which we can find and share information quickly.  As a librarian, it has opened wide the eyes of kids and brought the world to kids who lack any other way of finding more than just what’s in their back yards.

But…

Having said that, not everything on the internet amuses me anymore.  I’m not talking about the violence, smut, repetitive ads, spam email and the like.  I’m talking about the so called “experts” who are more than willing to tell me how to “hack” my life or things that are so yesterday that I should have gotten rid of them a long time ago.

For instance, http://www.msn.com is currently running an article (with pictures!) telling me about 75 things I should get rid of right now.

First of all, my stuff is my stuff, OK?  I may not have made the best decisions when I acquired some of it and I’m pleased that I don’t own some of the things on that list.  But my choices are my choices.

There’s a smugness about these things which I should forgo.  For example, buying pre-cut veggies and salad makings is a huge no-no on this list.  Let me tell you, when I get up at 4 am to make my lunch, I’m not safe to be around sharp objects that I would have to use to cut up the heads of lettuce (assuming I could even find lettuce heads-in our area, they have all but disappeared).  The list makers assume that most if not all of this stuff will go to waste.  Fair enough, there are times when I’ve not used it all in a timely manner.  However, I’d do the same with heads of lettuce just as much if not more so.

Another item on this list was Popsicle.  Can you imagine!  Part of summer is peeling off the paper on a Popsicle and trying to get the sticky thing off of my fingers.  Did you know that for $8 bucks you can buy a mold for Popsicle on Amazon?  Imagine the savings you could have.  Frankly, if I spend $8 bucks on Popsicles in a summer, I’m doing good.  This mold thingy would just end up in my kitchen drawers taking up space.

Also on this list was takeout food.  I work 11 and 1/2 hours a day and my commute to and from is another hour and a half.  I can barely manage to pick up takeout much less cook a wonderful meal when I get home.  And spare me the cook ahead on Sunday for the whole week thing.  Sunday is a day of REST, didn’t you know?  I intend to rest~

Some things on this list are easy to give up.  That new car every two years, the designer duds, the foreign vacations and the expensive wine are things I can do without.  Not so much disposable razors, paper plates, plastic containers,  and books are too much a part of my life.  I love eBooks but sometimes I just need to feel the paper in my hands.  That goes for newspapers as well.

I suppose that even though I’ve embraced the digital life, I still need to experience real things as well.

Hack your own life.  Mine suits me just fine.

I’m used to this kind of behavior…

Elijah Goodwin, a 10 year old from a Title 1 school and a member of his school’s robotics team made this statement.

Why, you ask?

Because when his team won the local robotics competition in their area, members and parents of opposing teams met them in the parking lot and yelled at them to “Go back to Mexico” and had made rude, disparaging racial comments loud enough to be heard in the gymnasium where the competition was held.

The kids on this team were 9 and 10 years old.  They were Latino and black and they came from a school where this was their first year in robotics, made possible by a grant.

Apparently, they weren’t supposed to win.  Apparently that honor was to be held by those who “belong here”.

How sad is it that a 10 year old, a 10 year old!!!, is not bothered by these comments because in his words” I’m used to this kind of behavior”.

How many times has this 10 year old child heard words designed to make him feel less sure of himself, less a sense of belonging, less a sense of being worthy of honors?

Apparently enough times that he has developed a rather thick skin about it all.

How sad is that?

Shame on those who said it and shame on us when we believe, because we want to believe, that these things don’t happen in our America any more.

Not one of us, not ONE of us, had any part in being born with the color of skin that we have.  We couldn’t choose to be white or brown or black or whatever color we claim to be.  In the roulette wheel of genetics, we are who we are with no input of our own.  That takes away any hubris we may have about being better or special or somehow entitled.

Our nation is built on those who strive and achieve.  I certainly hope to be reading about Elijah Goodwin doing great things in the future. His ability to handle the slings and arrows of the ignorant says much about him.  Let’s hope his future is one where he is allowed to succeed and not be driven to failure because he doesn’t fit someone else’s idea of who is worthy.

The Budget, a proposal that needs turned down…

The President has dramatically brought out his first budget.  It was met with thundering….criticism.

Let’s face it.  A budget is a pain in the butt to try to create and an even bigger pain to try to implement. There is always a bit of hurting in the budget, some things you just have to let go.

Thus the huffing and puffing about today’s budget roll out.  The government has funded many things over the years that the public has come to expect as things which will always just be there.

Now, the new sheriff in town and his new posse have brought to the forefront a new way of looking at government.  One that drastically cuts out the little guy and greatly improves the big guys.

There are several sites which list the groups which will see, if not total elimination altogether, drastic cuts to the funding that keeps these groups and institutions going.

Government is always rife with overspending and with places where several groups are trying to do the same things.  In those cases, tightening up those overlaps is necessary.

This budget claims in several areas to do so.  But in other areas, areas which are not favorable with this President, a budgetary bloodbath is planned.

I could go on and on about the things which are being targeted and how unfair they are to the rural and poor.  Some of the most ardent supporters of this man are about to find out that their love hurts.

However, there was one comment made that I just could not let pass without comment.

Mr. Mulvaney, one of Mr. Trumps budget wonks, publicly stated in an interview that he could not see making a West Virginia coal miner or a single mom pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, that evil empire of Sesame Street, Dowton Abbey, The Victory Garden and The Fourth of July Washington Spectacular.

Mr. Trump was within his right to choose individuals for his team who mirrored his points of view.  Unfortunately, billionaires do not have the background to understand some things.

I grew up without much.  Cable was not ever an option, the good old antenna had to do.  We were lucky to get three channels, one of which was PBS.  PBS brought a world that was closed to those of us in the rural poor areas-it did more to expand our horizons than The Beverly Hillbillies ever could do.

Mr. Mulvaney may disparage PBS but to the poor coal miner or the single mom, I’m willing to bet that PBS has an important role in their lives.  One can almost spit on one’s finger and get a PBS station for free which is certainly different than the cable or satellite bills.  A family can get PBS stations on a $15.00 over the air HDTV box, a one time purchase, while the cheapest cable bill is still over $45 monthly.

Those in Washington seem to have lost any sense of …well sense.  When the Republican representative said that people would have to choose between the I phone and their health care, he obviously did not understand that the health care offered would cost much more than the phone did, especially if it was second hand.

One of the things which has always annoyed me about the Republican Party is their constant hammering of the poor.  If someone is poor, it obviously must be their own fault and if they’d just try a little harder on their own, their lives could be so much better.

Some folks can try all they want, but without a network that helps them get the contacts that they need, they will surely fail.  I have had Republican friends scoff at that, but when I ask them how they got their job, their entry into the school they wanted, or just about any other thing they aspired to do, they mumble and mention someone who opened a door, paved a way, or mentored them.  These are parts of the network that the poor often do not have.

This budget aims to eliminate more of those parts of the network.  If I had a vote, I’d vote against it.  Loudly.

 

Wordage and different impressions…

I’d like to tackle some of the words most commonly found in our somewhat uncivil discourse these days.  The words come from the media coverage of our government, the attitude comes from me.

“Make America Great Again”.  This one has troubled me from the beginning of it’s use.  It implies that somehow America had fallen onto the trash heap of history and was in a steep decline.  While I will admit that America had some quirks, wrinkles and scars, the tenor overall of the nation was still one of security and stability.  Not everyone was happy, of course, but they were all unhappy for differing and mostly personal reasons.  Whites who felt somehow that at this point in their lives that they should have “arrived” (whatever that means) felt that life had passed them by somehow.  The vaunted jobs of their parents did not pan out or had been eliminated by automation or by changes in technology.  Those who did not anticipate or train for other jobs felt that the situation must be someone else’s fault.  Ironically, the immigrant population caught their ire the  most.  How on earth did a nation of immigrants become a nation who viewed immigrants with suspicion and anger?  I suspect that directing one’s ire outward rather than looking inward has much to do with the problem.

“Deep State”.  The nation of Turkey is the basis of this little gem.  Deep State implies that a shadow government of non-elected individuals is quietly in the back ground of the government, sowing havoc in the processes that the current administration is trying to implement.  Perhaps the slowdown of work has much to do with the fact that many jobs in the government have not yet been filled, many of which require no Congressional approval.  Sticking to the idea of less government is a grand idea, but not having enough personnel on hand to do the work is simply incompetent.  The only department claiming to have enough people and not enough work is the State Department.  The department most closely related to international relations is left to drift without any idea of what the leadership has in mind.  What kind of government does this?

“Alternate Facts”.  Just call them what they are-lies.  Nobody is being fooled, nobody with a brain is being swayed, and nobody is impressed.

Words are important because they are the placeholders of our understanding of events, big and small.  Ideas cannot come to fruition without words, nor can attitudes be formed.

One last word…

Vigilant.  What I intend to be.  This bunch bears watching closely.

 

Pay attention in civics class…

If you are an American, chances are really good that at some time during your school career, you were part of a civics class.  You would have studied the branches of government, major laws, court cases and how elections work.  This information was part of the curriculum in order that you could become a good, voting citizen and be a part of the democracy in which you live.

That’s how it is supposed to work.

And then, there’s the current administration who seems to believe that if they say it, it  must be true and if they say it, providing facts are not necessary.

Take for example, paying taxes.  In Civics class, the student learns that taxation, while not a favorite activity of most people, is necessary in order to fund the government in order for that government to provide services and protection for the citizens.  The idea of exactly what services and protection tends to break down along political party lines, but in general, being safe and having basic needs met is agreeable to both.

It has become the custom for those seeking high political offices, say the Presidency, to provide proof of the taxes that they have paid.  This gives the general public an idea of their wealth and whether or not they are good at managing money in a way that is constructive.  It also helps with general nosiness on the part of the citizenry about just what is the relative value of this candidate.

This President has not released his taxes and seems to not ever be considering such a thing.  Indeed, he seems to believe that it’s none of our business.

irs form

It might not be.  But, given the suggestions that this President has had ties which might be on the shady side with America’s biggest and strongest enemy, asking for the proof of tax paying seems important.

It also may have lead to the wiretapping of the Trump Tower.  While definitive proof has not been offered, a former member of the government who would have been in the know has suggested that if the government was concerned about the contact that individuals in the President’s business interests or his aides in his campaign may have had with Russia would be enough for a warrant for a wiretap and one might have been authorized.

wiretap

Here’s the rub.  While the current President blames the most recent past President, anyone with a background in civics would have known that Presidents do not set up wiretaps.  The judicial branch of government does that, under the direction of investigators looking into possible crimes.

The fastest way to garner suspicion is to act as though you have something to hide.  If a wiretap was authorized, it may very well have something to do with not releasing those tax forms.

And, while this is not universally known, being as how most of us do not read the fine print when we sign off on picking up a prescription for colds, sinus problems, or breathing problems, permission to look at financial records is given when one we sign off on those decongestants.

cold medicine

And that would include wiretaps.

While the current President would like to blame the most recent former President for wiretaps (if they exist at all), it wouldn’t be because the former President ordered the activity.  Such an investigation  would have been because the way was made clear to do so when the current President had a sinus issue and signed off on medication.

So, if anyone is to blame for these so called wiretaps, it would be the current President.

But I doubt that he’ll own up to it anytime soon.

 

Swamps…

If you are interested in ecology, swamps are a very important piece of the puzzle.  While they are often dank, humid, and buggy places, they serve the purpose of both funneling water and allowing it to settle for a bit before moving onward.

swamp

This is important in  a system of nature.  In a system of government, it’s problematic.

We have an administration who has pledged to “drain the swamp”, picturing the establishment in Washington as stagnant, smelly and full of evil creatures.  Our president went to work, slashing left and right with his mighty pen, promoting the idea of less government by slashing spending on the parts of government that he considered to be …um…swampy.  Ironically, the Environmental Protection Agency was one of the first targets.

  trump-signing-orders

As for the swamp creatures, the administration viewed those who have had years of experience in working in the governmental system as somehow the problem.  Again, the president vowed to clean them out.  Those who knew how to make government provide services were deemed to be evil and to be exterminated.

 

How interesting that the swamp was resettled with individuals who are very adept at moving things along and filtering money.  As for draining the swamp, the president seemed to be very intent on adding mega predators to government agencies, who would, in effect, eat not only their young, but themselves as well.

devosrick perry

 

 

They also seem to have consorted with all sorts of evil types.

Vladimir Putin

How does this happen?

One of the denizens of the swamp are the mosquitoes, those buzzing infernal pests.  Our administration seems to be rife with them, several of whom are right outside of the president’s ear.  These mosquitoes are bound and determined to be the only bloodsuckers of note, all while identifying the enemy as the bloodsuckers of the people.

 

Washington, D. C. is built on swampland.  If you’ve ever been near the place in the summer, the humidity is almost unbearable most days.  While engineering has drained and controlled much of the actual swamp, the swamp of people has steadily grown.

Unlike what has been presented by this administration, there requires an abundant amount of people to make the wheels of government turn.  The more experienced they are, the smoother things could go.

What we have now is a bunch of rookie basketball players trying to play tennis.  Lack of knowledge and a wild desire to create chaos is driving this administration.

Funny thing about driving in a swamp…you need to have the right vehicle and a good driver.  Washington, D. C. at the moment, has neither.

 

Last night in Sweden and other events

Our country’s leader felt the need to rustle up some positive energy for his administration so he went to a smallish airport (presumably where a crowd would appear larger) and rallied his troops.

trump-melania-in-florida

In his comments about protecting America, he mentioned “what happened last night in Sweden” and declared that the media is not giving such events much coverage.  The Swedish people were confused.  The former prime minister of Sweden wondered if the President was “smoking something”.  The Swedish news media hustled around trying to find something.  And, Sweden’s official Twitter account, which remarkably is handed over every week to a normal, average Swedish citizen (can you imagine???) was deluged with questions and responded with humor.  Apparently, someone opened a can of fermented fish in a public place.

open-fish-in-sweden

As for the actual “terror” event, it seems that the administration, who helpfully distributed a list of assumed terror attacks that the media had not covered, mentioned an event in Malmo which was a small fire set in a community center that Muslim citizens used as a meeting place.  No one was injured, the fire caused mostly smoke damage, and it happened in 2016.  The person who set the fire did not meet the parameters of a terrorist as set by the Swedish court system  and was prosecuted for arson.

malmo

This non-event seems to fit a pattern of scaffolding events to fit a preconceived notion that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and that only the President is seeing the problem and fixing the problem.  Somewhat like the old termite inspectors who always found termites in buildings because they carried boxes of termites with them to the inspection.  Create the problem and you will be called on to solve the problem.

kellyanne-conway

This is not the only time such a claim has been made by this administration.  Ms. Conway stated categorically that the Bowling Green Massacre had occurred, not just once, for which she claimed a verbal slip, but several times for which proof has been found.

spicer-bobble-head

And Sean Spicer, public talking bobble head, declared Atlanta to be the scene of a terrorist attack.  Now, this one is truly interesting because I might just know where this event came from.

During the time of very heightened awareness of everything around us in the post-9/11 America, there was an event in Atlanta which was breathlessly reported by FoxNews.  I happened to be watching that show when it happened, so I am an eyewitness.

Fox broke into a regularly scheduled conversation between two talking heads to report on an ongoing incident in downtown Atlanta.  The blonde reporter (who I think is now the blonde who sits on the couch with the other three talking hosts), breathlessly reported from the studio that police were converging on downtown Atlanta where a terrorist attack may be unfolding RIGHT NOW.  The video feed was of a refrigerated truck, diagonally crossing an intersection with smoke billowing from the truck.  The driver’s door was open and no one was around the truck.

The reporter continued to breathlessly report that Homeland Security was descending on Atlanta, that all the buildings around a two block area of this truck were being evacuated and that everyone should stay calm.

The last instruction proved to be true.  As she continued to report and often said, “We don’t know what we are seeing here, but a truck is smoking in downtown Atlanta!” (at this, my grammar Nazi kicked in an groaned “the truck cannot smoke!”).

After about an hour of trying to “gather more pertinent information”, FoxNews had to scale down the hysteria.  Homeland was not called.  The blocks around the truck were not evacuated, there was no terrorist attack in progress.

What was happening is that a refrigerated truck carrying fruit had the refrigeration unit short circuit, catch fire and begin to smoke.  The driver parked it in the safest place he could think of, left the truck to find a phone to call for help, and then went back to try to help the firefighters when they arrived.

If someone in the administration had seen this, it might have been mistakenly added to the list of attacks on America.

The President keeps claiming that “he was told this by someone”.

I have to wonder if he’s listening to the voices in his head.