Raise Your Hand…

Fed up? You’re not alone.

…if you are furious about this latest domestic terrorist act that has killed 19 innocent children in this country, along with 2 teachers.

Raise your hand…

…if you feel that this mass shooting, along with all others, is government-sanctioned by way of their failure to act.

Raise your hand…

…if the phrase “thoughts and prayers” coupled with an obvious intent to maintain the status quo makes you want to vomit.

Raise your hand…

…if you have tried to explain that you don’t want to take everyone’s guns away, just the ones that can fire 45 rounds per minute, which have no legitimate private use unless you are in the midst of a zombie freakin’ apocalypse.

Raise your hand…

…if you are stunned by gun advocates’ utter selfishness and refusal to absorb international statistics that prove that reasonable gun restrictions prevent the mass slaughter of children.

Raise your hand…

…if you refuse to vote for a politician who gets money from the NRA, because that person demonstrates that he or she puts that greed ahead of the lives and safety of the people she or he would be elected to represent.

Raise your hand…

…if you are fed up with a government that refuses to listen to the majority of us, especially with regard to gun restrictions, women’s rights, health care and the environment.

Raise your hand…

…if you see blood on the hands of every politician who refuses to make changes after expressing deep sympathy for the parents who will never see their children again.

Raise your hand…

…if you are profoundly tired and/or depressed and/or feeling helpless.

Raise your hand…

…if you are increasingly ashamed of congress’ inability to act on our behalf rather than in their own financial best interests.

Raise your hand…

…if you are horrified by the ever-increasing bias of the supreme court.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that a political party that supports the overthrow of a legitimately elected president should be stripped of its power.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that wealth should be taxed at a much higher rate.

Raise your hand…

…if you cannot and will not support fascism in any form.

Raise your hand…

…if you are tired of being scared, disappointed, and bitter.

Raise your hand…

…if you are disgusted by the utter lack of consequences for blatantly criminal acts, even as you watch other people get imprisoned for absurd reasons.

Raise your hand…

…if you struggle every day to not become cynical and sedentary.

Raise your hand…

…if you think that those who wish to suppress history and encourage censorship have an evil, racist agenda.

Raise your hand…

… if you are tired of decision makers who think that islands float, that snowballs prove there’s no global warming, that women can’t get pregnant if “legitimately” raped, that wind turbines cause cancer, that not all workers deserve a living wage, that we all don’t deserve the same access to affordable healthcare, that women should submit to their husbands, that Jewish space lasers actually exist, and that all homosexuals are automatically pedophiles and all immigrants are automatically violent criminals.

Raise your hand…

… if people who continue to vote for such politicians scare you.

Raise your hand…

…if you are sick and tired of gerrymandering for any political party, and think that all districts should be shaped as squares or rectangles, with 90 degree angles, with the exception of state boarders and coastlines, with their size adjusted by number of voters in the area, and that what party someone registers for should not be allowed to be taken into consideration.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that the electoral college is an outmoded system that not only doesn’t serve us well, but also is harmful to this country. One person, one vote. We have the technology.

And most of all, raise your hand…

…if you’re feeling trapped in a f***ed up, theocratic, ignorance-worshiping, mentally ill, selfish, money-grubbing and utterly brainwashed society that is increasingly run by criminals, fascists and liars.


…for every cause you believe to be just, and in every single election in which you are qualified to vote, no matter how insignificant it may seem or how inconvenient the powers that be make it for you to exercise that right.

Do it for the lives of your children. Do it for your community. Do it to stamp out ignorance and hate. Do it for the planet. Do it to preserve whatever shred of compassion and hope and optimism and good will you still manage to possess.

Do it so that all this sh** will stop.

Because you are not alone in knowing that it has to stop.

What follows is a list of American cities or counties where mass shootings have occurred SO FAR in 2022 ALONE, most recent first, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Stanwood, Michigan
Anniston, Alabama
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Uvalde, Texas
North Charleston, SC
Cleveland, Ohio
Goshen, Indiana
Tacoma, Washington
Kissimmee, Florida
Highland, California
New Orleans, Louisiana
Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Palo Alto, California
Laguna Woods, California
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Houston, Texas
Amarillo, Texas
Buffalo, New York
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hot Springs National Park, AK
Chicago, Illinois
Saint Louis, Missouri
Indianapolis, Indiana
Paterson, New Jersey
Baltimore, Maryland
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Baltimore, Maryland
Brookshire, Texas
Detroit, Michigan
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Clarkston, Georgia
Lexington, Kentucky
Garland, Texas
Miami, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
Sunnyside, Washington
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cowley (county), Kansas
Beaumont, Texas
Lafayette, Louisiana
Springfield, Ohio
Tarpon Springs, Florida
North Charleston, SC
Atlanta, Georgia
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana
Laurel, Mississippi
Bessemer, Alabama
Chicago, Illinois
Opelousas, Louisiana
Biloxi, Mississippi
San Antonio, Texas
Phoenix, Arizona
Birmingham, Alabama
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Lafayette, Indiana
Chicago, Illinois
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
San Bernardino, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Petersburg, Virginia
Cincinnati, Ohio
Washington, DC
Mountain View, Arkansas
Duluth, Minnesota
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Portland, Oregon
Furman, South Carolina
Sacramento, California
Miami, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Baldwin, Louisiana
Columbia, South Carolina
Baltimore, Maryland
North Las Vegas, Nevada
Daingerfield, Texas
Syracuse, New York
Stockton, California
Brooklyn, New York
Bronx, New York
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Elgin, Illinois
Willowbrook, California
Indianapolis, Indiana
Washington, DC
Miami, Florida
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Covington, Kentucky
Hartford, Connecticut
Buffalo, New York
San Francisco, California
Dallas, Texas
Sacramento, California
Shelby, North Carolina
Monroe, Louisiana
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Shreveport, Louisiana
Walterboro, South Carolina
Hollister, California
Cleveland, Ohio
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Stockton, California
Waterbury, Connecticut
Chicago, Illinois
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Houston, Texas
Austin, Texas
Norfolk, Virginia
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Dumas, Arkansas
Madison Heights, Virginia
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
New Iberia, Louisiana
Lansing, Michigan
Chicago, Illinois
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Irvington, New Jersey
Irvington, New Jersey
Ozark, Alabama
Reading, Pennsylvania
Chicago, Illinois
Rochester, New York
Columbia, South Carolina
Baltimore, Maryland
Autaugaville, Alabama
Columbus, Ohio
Aurora, Colorado
Jacksonville, Florida
Knoxville, Tennessee
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Louisville, Kentucky
Lubbock, Texas
Monroe, Louisiana
Chester, South Carolina
Glendale, Arizona
Atlanta, Georgia
Las Vegas, Nevada
Baltimore, Maryland
Sacramento, California
Alexandria, Louisiana
North Charleston, SC
Las Vegas, Nevada
Bogalusa, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
San Antonio, Texas
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Omaha, Nebraska
Des Moines, Iowa
Portland, Oregon
Mccomb, Mississippi
Durham, North Carolina
Portland, Oregon
Charleston, Missouri
Turlock, California
Temple Hills, Maryland
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Houston, Texas
Miami, Florida
Joliet, Illinois
Racine, Wisconsin
West Hollywood, California
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Little Rock, Arkansas
Springfield, Missouri
Phoenix, Arizona
Romeoville, Illinois
Fresno, California
Wilmington, North Carolina
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Corsicana, Texas
Blacksburg, Virginia
Oroville, California
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Raleigh, North Carolina
Winter Haven, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Saint Louis, Missouri
Atlanta, Georgia
Bakersfield, California
Washington, DC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Inglewood, California
Baltimore, Maryland
New Orleans, Louisiana
Miami, Florida
San Antonio, Texas
Savannah, Georgia
Knoxville, Tennessee
Brunswick, Georgia
Eugene, Oregon
Brooklyn, New York
Chicago, Illinois
Fresno, California
Los Angeles, California
Montgomery, Alabama
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Houston, Texas
Jackson, Mississippi
Corsicana, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Columbia, Missouri
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Peoria, Illinois
Dillon, South Carolina
South Bend, Indiana
Denver, Colorado

Mondragon Corporation: A Lesson in Cooperation

There are alternatives to capitalism.

Much has been made of late about the income inequality in the United States. I hope that the clamor becomes ever louder, because, as one meme about Jeff Bezos states, “If a monkey hoarded more bananas than it could eat, while most of the other monkeys starved, scientists would study that monkey to figure out what the heck was wrong with it. When humans do the same thing, we put them on the cover of Forbes.”

Something definitely has to change. Nobody needs that many bananas. I find it difficult to understand why anyone would even want that many bananas. Eating too many bananas can only lead to bloating and constipation.

That’s the problem with this country. It is bloated on its own greed. It is constipated when it comes to compassion for the less fortunate. The system is not healthy.

We could learn a great deal from the Mondragon Corporation. I first heard about this organization by listening to a talk on income inequality by Noam Chomsky. He was discussing alternatives to capitalism, as he quite often does, and he held Mondragon up as the most advanced case of a worker-owned cooperative in the world. Naturally, I had to learn more about it.

According to its own website as well as Wikipedia and an article entitled, “Mondragon through a Critical Lens”, this corporation originates in the Basque region of Spain, and because of it, that region went from being the poorest in Spain 65 years ago, to being by far the richest region. Starting off as a small worker-owned company, it has expanded to more than 100 different cooperatives, employing more than 81,000 people.

We aren’t unfamiliar with cooperatives here in the U.S. Many of us bank at credit unions, shop at independent grocery stores, live in housing cooperatives, or obtain our food from agricultural cooperatives. Given the fact that cooperatives are responsible for more than 500 billion in revenue here, it surprises me that they aren’t given more press.

Well, it does and it doesn’t surprise me, actually. Given that unions are squelched in red states, and large companies, like Amazon, are terrified of them, people certainly don’t want workers to gain too much power in this country. Chaos could ensue. People might, like, start earning living wages rather than having that money go to stockholders. We can’t have that, now, can we?

Mondragon begs to differ. Its primary goal is to maximize employment and give employees the dignity of having a say in their own destiny, to further the well-being of the workers as a whole.

Their cooperatives are mostly industrial, but they also include the finance, retail and knowledge sectors. They have discovered that competing in technical niche markets make them competative on a global scale, and since their jobs require more than a basic education, they’re less apt to be competing with underpaid workers overseas.

Mondragon’s workers also own their own bank, university, social welfare agency, supermarket chain and several business incubators. They have their own pension and medical plans, and on the average, executives are only allowed to earn 5 times as much as the lowest paid employee. The ratio in question is voted on by the employees.

One employee, one vote is the rule. And that means that the CEO has no more power in the fate of the company than the guy who scrubs the toilets. In fact, the administrators work for the employees, not the other way around. How refreshing.

Mondragon is also a lot more adaptable than a typical bureaucracy. They are very dedicated to collaborative decision making, and because of that they can break free of old-guard, stuck-in-their-ways attitudes. Since the employees have an equal say, the decisions are made based on the current facts, not on old habits.

Mondragon employees get much better health care than the average American, and their pensions are 80 percent of their former salaries. They have extensive unemployment benefits. In addition, if one cooperative fails, the vast majority of the employees are absorbed by the other cooperatives, so there is a great deal of income security.

Is Mondragon perfect? Not by a long shot. It is still having to compete in an international, mostly capitalist market, so it has had to make some uncomfortable choices. For example, it does have international employees as well, and while they are employed by the cooperatives, they’re not owners as the other employees are. Therefore they don’t reap all the benefits and they don’t have a say in the decisions. Supposedly they are still treated well, but it’s a disturbing trend.

Another issue is that women are severely underrepresented in Mondragon. I suspect that has to do with it originating in a macho culture, and also the fact that for various reasons, women don’t seem to pursue engineering educations as often as men do, and Mondragon is an engineering-heavy employer. But when women do get jobs within this system, they get equal pay. That must be nice.

And while everyone at Mondragon has a vote, that doesn’t necessarily mean that each person is educating themselves on the issues in question. So not all votes are informed ones.

Another hurdle is that when you only pay your CEOs reasonable wages rather than obscenely high ones, it’s hard to get the best and brightest people to apply for the job. It could be argued, though, that those who do apply have their priorities intact. That counts for something. But it’s a rare bureaucrat who has his or her priorities intact.

It may be a flawed system, but it seems a lot less flawed than what the majority of us experience in America. I definitely believe it merits further study. And I think the Green energy movement in this country, as it is relatively young, could start out as a cooperative and thrive. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we, the people, actually created clean energy while benefiting from our endeavors?

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Oh No You Don’t

Just try putting roadblocks between me and the voting booth.

I just read an article entitled, “Georgia Bill Would Criminalize Giving Water to Voters Waiting in Long Lines.” It brought me right back to standing in line to vote in Florida, year after year, in the blistering heat, on black pavement, for hours. It was brutal. I’ve gotten spoiled here in Washington State, where I can vote by mail.

Here’s the thing that I will never understand about politicians and voter suppression. If you push for these dirty tricks, you are saying, loud and clear, that you believe that the only way you can win an election is by cheating. That’s not a good look.

You have so many weapons in your voter suppression arsenal. Limiting hours at voting locations. Preventing voting by mail. Gerrymandering your district. Claiming that your tactics are only to prevent voter fraud, which has been proven time and time again to be virtually nonexistent. Requiring extensive paperwork in order to get a Voter ID. Prohibiting former felons from voting. Making the polls difficult to find or get to. And the list goes on and on and on. And on.

Yes, I get it. You’re hungry for power, and you’re willing to obtain that power by any means necessary. But the more people you alienate from the voting process, the fewer people who will want to vote for your party. What does it feel like, to shoot yourself in the foot like that?

Put roadblocks between me and the voting booth? Oh, hell no. That motivates me. I’ll crawl naked through ground glass to vote if I have to. Especially if it means I get to vote against someone who is promoting voter suppression laws. Make it as hard as you want to. I’ll still find a way to vote, and I’ll help others be able to vote, too.

Nothing will stop me from demonstrating my patriotism by voting. By trying to stop me, all you’re doing is pissing me off. And you won’t like me when I’m pissed off.

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Uncounted: The History and Impact of Voter Supression

My notes from a great seminar presented by Humanities Washington.

Recently I attended a zoom seminar presented by Humanities Washington, along with KUOW, KPBX and Northwest Public Broadcasting. The speaker’s panel consisted of Angelique M. Davis, professor of political science at Seattle University; Representative Debra Lekanoff, 40th Legislative District; Josué Estrada, University of Washington doctoral candidate in history; and Terry Anne Scott, director of African American Studies at Hood College. It was moderated by Johann Neem, professor of history at Western Washington University.

Here was the introduction to the discussion:

This year, 160 bills have been introduced in 33 states that would restrict voting—four times as many as during the same period in 2020.

American democracy is often spoken of in lofty language, but between the lines is a more troubling story of exclusion and discrimination. Historically, voter suppression has taken many forms, including limiting eligibility to white male landowners, Jim Crow-era methods like poll taxes and literacy tests, and modern-day disinformation campaigns. The conspiracy theory about a stolen election in 2020 is proving useful to bolster support for another round of restrictions.

Yet the American story is also one of progress, including women’s suffrage and the Voting Rights Act. This will be a discussion that explores the forces that push and pull on our right to vote. How does our past impede our future, both nationally and in Washington? What does modern-day voter suppression look like? Though Washington’s mail-in voting system is considered a nationwide model, what problems remain in our state? Where can we find hope? And how can we simply ensure that every vote—and every voter—counts?

What follows are the notes I took during the fascinating seminar. They are a little disjointed, but they’ll give you an idea of some of the points that were being made.

There are many ways to increase voter access. Some can be as simple as including prepaid postage. Others more complex, like making sure the polls are wheelchair accessible, and extending the hours at polling places. Here in Washington state, we have mail in ballots and ballot boxes for those who don’t want to use the mail. But even in this state, there were no ballot boxes on Native American reservations until 2016. In fact, Native Americans did not get the right to vote until 1962, 168 years after our constitution was written.

In this day and age, most people do not want to be viewed as racist, so voter suppression tactics have become more subtle. Instead of blatantly coming out and saying that the goal is to disempower people of color, or that they want to govern without the input of others, they are now using the big lie that there is voter fraud that must be dealt with. This modified message achieves the same results.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “it is still more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud either through in-person voting or with mail ballots.”

Voter fraud should not be used as an excuse to prevent people from voting. If anything, the more people who vote, the more likely any miniscule amount of fraud would be watered down. The people have a right to speak. Every one of us.

Preventing former felons from voting is a direct attack on low income people and people of color. People in this category who want to vote are demonstrating that they want to be productive and participating members of society. This should be encouraged.

Why do so many poor people buy into the importance of suppressing votes? Because there is a psychology of white privilege and white entitlement in this country that tells them that their way of life is dependent upon the suffering of others. If minorities get to vote and influence election outcomes, they’ll overtake and pass these people, is the current thinking. But that’s absurd, because when democracy is suppressed, we all suffer the results.

Another tactic that is being used at the present is drumming into people’s heads that the system is broken, which causes some to not even participate in the voting process. THAT is what truly breaks the system.

We need to create a culture in our families and communities that voting is your power. We need to encourage that attitude at every opportunity. We need to remind people that many have died to give you the right to vote, and it is therefore our responsibility to exercise that right.

We need to closely examine our racial and social contract to understand who we consider human. Humans, by definition, should be able to vote if they’re living in a democracy. People who don’t speak the language but are still citizens are humans. People who have served their time for committing a crime are human. Indigenous people are human. Poor people are human. Women are human. People that don’t look like you are human.

When the question and answer period came about, I asked, “How do we break through the ‘I only listen to one news source’ echo chamber to allow facts about voter suppression to be heard?”

This got a lot of interesting responses. One person said that we need to advocate for voting. Another said we need to have those uncomfortable conversations, and that requires that we be informed, and know what the underlying intent is to various voter suppression laws. Speak up. Spread the word.

State Representative Lekanoff had some encouraging news for Washington state. We’re about to go through the process of redistricting, and for the first time ever, there are multiple members of the board who are people of color. I suspect a lot of lines are going to be redrawn. That makes me really happy.

I once called this country a democratic experiment, and several of my more conservative cousins were infuriated. But I still maintain that this is an experiment. It can be tampered with. It can fail or succeed. Without vigilance, it can be circumvented, as is becoming increasingly obvious. It takes all of us, actively participating, continually, to ensure that this experiment is a success.

Please vote, and engage in political protest. Participate in this experiment. Thanks.

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Mid-Month Marvels: The League of Women Voters

I can think of no organization that I trust more.

A recurring theme in this blog is the celebration of people and/or organizations that have a positive impact on their communities. What they do is not easy, but it’s inspirational, and we don’t hear enough about them. So I’ve decided to commit to singing their praises at least once a month. I’m calling it Mid-Month Marvels. If you have any suggestions for the focus of this monthly spotlight, let me know in the comments below!

Without a doubt, the looming presidential election is the most important one ever held in America. I genuinely want everyone to vote. This will shape our nation and, indeed, determine if it even exists as a democracy moving forward. I cannot stress this enough: Please vote.

Having said that, there is no better organization for me to promote this month than the League of Women Voters. It is a completely nonpartisan organization that has but one agenda: preserving everyone’s right to vote. If you believe in democracy at all, this is an organization worth supporting.

The League is celebrating its 100th year, as women (white ones, at least) were given the right to vote in the 1920’s, and the League evolved from the women’s suffrage movement that obtained that right. The League was instrumental in establishing the United Nations. They sponsored the first televised presidential debates. They maintain a website called VOTE411.org, which provides nonpartisan information about both state and national elections. I can’t tell you how many times I have referred to this site for information.

The League of Women Voters website advocates for the following:

  • Voter registration

  • The COVID Elections Fund to ensure safe and accessible elections.

  • Fighting voter suppression

  • Removing money from politics

  • Fighting gerrymandering.

No matter which side of the political debate you fall on, surely these are issues that all of us can agree upon if we want a genuine democracy. I can think of no organization that I trust more with these tasks than the League of Women Voters. Please join me in supporting them here.


The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

The 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

Every woman should view voting as a sacred obligation.

One hundred years ago today, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution passed, giving women the right to vote. This was a major breakthrough, and one that should never be taken for granted, given that the women of Saudi Arabia only got the right to vote 5 short years ago. I will never understand, as long as I live, why every single woman who can vote does not do so.

The first country to give women the vote was New Zealand, in 1893. It’s hard to believe it took us 27 years to jump on the bandwagon, given the fact that New Zealand clearly didn’t self-destruct in the interim. Even Russia beat us to it by 3 years, and the UK beat us by two years.

It seems like a simple concept: if a government is supposed to represent all of us, then it should be elected by us all. But women had to go to jail, starve themselves, be tortured, and even die to gain us this privilege that we so callously neglect. Because of that, I firmly believe that every woman should view voting as a sacred obligation.

Vote, ladies. It’s not only your right but it’s also your duty. Do it for every woman who fought so terribly hard to do so before you.


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Loony Candidates of the Pacific Northwest

Don’t you just love the democratic process?

A few days ago, I voted in a primary and special election here in the Seattle area. They really make it easy here. You vote by mail, and they provide you with a nice thick pamphlet which tells you everything you need to know about the various candidates and issues.

People in the State of Washington really have no excuse not to vote. It’s not like you have to stand for hours in a blistering hot parking lot, waiting for the chance to vote, and have to conduct hours of independent research to know who to vote for, like I did for decades in Florida.

The pamphlet for my area was 91 pages long this time around. I adore these pamphlets, because they help me do my homework on the candidates. I can eliminate many people on their statements alone, and then do further research on the more serious ones if I feel the need.

But I also enjoy the pamphlet because there are enough loony candidates to turn it into a joke book. Anyone can run if they meet the requirements. But jeez, it really makes you wonder why certain ones bother.

For your amusement, here are some of the more lunatic fringe candidates (in my opinion) running for office here in the Seattle area, and some quotes directly from their statements as included in the voter’s pamphlet. Suffice it to say, I voted for more sane, serious, and qualified candidates than these.

  • Alex Tsimerman is running for Governor of the State of Washington and says he prefers the StandupAmerica Party. Under his Community Service, he lists, among other things, receiving “over 12 trespasses for a total of more than 1,200 days from going into the Demo-Nazi-Gestapo Council Chambers.” In his statement, he simply repeats the following sentence 25 times: “Stop Seattle/King Fascism with idiotic face!”

  • “Goodspaceguy” has been running for one office or another for as long as I’ve been in this state. This time he’s running for Governor. Apparently this is his legally changed name. He says he prefers the Trump Republican Party. His statement includes the following. “Viruses will always attack you. Your immune system defends you. As governor, I will not shut down your businesses or forbid you to go to work….How many robots would you want to supervise to make your work easier? … Please refer to our world as ‘Spaceship Earth.’ This concept might improve your descendants’ future.”

  • Omari Tahir Garret is also running for Governor. He prefers the Democrat Party. He says he’s running as a spokesperson for anti-apartheid/reparations now movement, and claims that “the current Governor’s biggest mistake is turning Seattle’s SVI building over to proven historical Negro vampire criminals.” He also says that “since race is arbitrarily based on ‘skin color’, redefine ‘race’ based on hair color, which is much easier to change.”

  • Jared Frerichs is running for Lieutenant Governor. He says he prefers the Libertarian Party. Under “Elected Experience” he says he was the student council president at his high school. His statement is short and, I suppose, to the point. “Poverty is bad for business. I have some wild ideas on how we can end poverty forever, but I need your help. I don’t need your money. I need your vote.”

  • Cameron Whitney is running for Commissioner of Public Lands, and prefers the Republican Party. In his Community Service section, he states, “I’ve never been to jail.” And his statement is as follows: “I like environmental protection. I don’t like fires. Let’s work together to clean up the environment and stop fires. President Trump says we need to rake our forests to clean up debris that exacerbates fires and that’s where I intend to start.”

  • Mr Whitney’s competitor for Commissioner of Public Lands is Steve Sharon, who also prefers the Republican Party. He says that “If elected, I will direct an independent, state funded study of the effects of 5G cell-phone towers upon living things. My research indicates that this radiation is killing trees, birds, honey bees, human life.” He also assures us that he will stop chemtrails in Washington state, and says he’s against eugenics, Satan, the New World Order and the Green New Deal.

  • Stan Lippmann is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. He states that “Sometimes I think it would be better to start all over from 550 BC with a Pythagorean Academy, since it’s been all downhill in the common sense department since then.”

  • David Spring also wants to be Superintendent of Public Instruction. He states that “it makes no sense to shutdown schools for months at a time when there is not even a single case of any child in any school anywhere in our state transmitting the corona virus to any adult.”

  • Chirayu Avinash Patel is running for Insurance Commissioner, and he prefers the Republican Party. He wants to do so in order to manage 168 students so that he can major in every degree at the University of Washington. He plans to run the office externally like the Reagan Administration and internally as the Jefferson Administration. He says he’d be the external commissioner 60 percent of the time, and two other candidates would have the role the other 40 percent of the time. He says he would fill the roles of Ronald, Nancy and Nixon, and the other two would be Carter and Ford. Internally, he says, 168 insurance agents would hold the position in one hour increments.

  • Peter Thompson, Jr. is running for Representative. He prefers the Republican Party. Under Professional Experience he says he’s a Machinist who has worked at one shop owned by a real machinist and two shops owned by bureaucratic shareholder welfare queens. Under Community Service he says, “Praying for the souls of roadkill. Opossum coffins are not awesome.”

Don’t you just love the democratic process? Who says voting is no fun? All jokes aside, though, I’m sitting here poking fun at these people under the assumption that a nut can’t possibly get elected. But I thought that in 2016, too.


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Civilians vs. Law Enforcement

We have a completely different worldview. And that’s scary.

Recently I set off a heated debate in my world. I mentioned that I was glad to see that felons who have served their time in Florida have finally had their voting rights restored (unless they were convicted of murder or felony sex crimes).

Florida has always been the most restrictive state in terms of felony disenfranchisement. According to this article, in Florida, before Amendment 4 was passed, “one in 10 voting-age adults, and almost one in four African American adults were barred from voting for life because of a previous felony conviction.”

It’s clear to me why this has been the case. Florida is a red state, and it was feared that most people who have been in prison would vote blue. Also, with the disproportionate number of African Americans convicted of crimes, this was a handy way of depriving that minority of the vote, which, let’s face it, is the deep South’s wildest dream. (Now they’ll just have to rely on gerrymandering to get their desired results, and they’re quite good at that.)

I really believe that if we think that prisoners who have done their time have paid their debt to society, then we have no right to prevent them from participating therein. Now, do I expect that most of them will? No. Most of the rest of us don’t vote, unfortunately. Why should they be any different? But they should have the option.

The more roadblocks we place in their paths, the less likely they will be to reenter society with even a modicum of success. We set them up for failure. We make it nearly impossible for them to find decent jobs. We don’t want them as our next door neighbors. We don’t want them voting. Is it any wonder they remain on the fringe of civilization?

When I expressed this opinion, I got a lot of pushback from the people I know who formerly worked in the law enforcement field. The general consensus seemed to be, once a felon, always a felon. They have no inclination to participate in society.

When other friends, civilians like me, said that this might give them some incentive to do so, the law enforcement people opined that they know better. They won’t change.

We civilians piped up that even if only a tiny percentage wanted to change, that’s worth it. That’s when things got hostile. Apparently we shouldn’t form an opinion because we’d never experienced what the law enforcement types have experienced.

Then we pointed out that the law enforcement types wouldn’t, by definition, come into contact with the felons who were trying to change their lives, so their stats are biased.

More anger. Have we personally seen people attempt to change?

Yes. Examples were given.

That response, of course, was ignored. One person from the law enforcement camp  said they used to laugh at all the “do-gooders” who were attempting to change felons.

But we never said we were attempting to change them. We were just glad that they had their rights restored, so that they could make their own choices.

We civilians pointed out that we were sorry that the experience of law enforcement had left them so jaded. The law enforcements fired back that they were realists and that we had no right to weigh in since we didn’t have their experiences. (I half expected them to start calling us Muggles.)

We were then told that we can’t change anyone. They had to change themselves. Again, we pointed out we are trying to give these people the opportunity to change themselves. Again, this went unheard. They just said that they speak facts.

(Actually, no. These are opinions based on experiences, but clearly these opinions are so strongly held that they see them as facts.)

I can understand why one would become bitter and cynical when dealing day in and day out with the very dregs of society. It actually happened to me, too, for a time, in a job where I dealt with a lot of liars and people prone to fraud. That’s why I quit. I didn’t like how it was causing me to view society in general.

I think there’s a reason why law enforcement types often socialize only with one another. The rest of us don’t get it. We Muggles have a completely different worldview.

But we don’t get it because we have the luxury of hanging out with the majority of society, which is either law abiding or has paid its debt and is attempting to move on. How lucky we are. How grateful we should be.

Law enforcement is necessary, and I’m very glad that it exists. But unfortunately I believe that it’s a career path that warps one’s view of society. People in law enforcement have to live in a dark world, and therefore they have a tendency to forget how to see the sun. And it’s a little scary to think that people with warped views of society are in charge of keeping the peace.

I honestly don’t know what the solution is for this. But I’ll still maintain that if even one Florida felon enters the voting booth, I will consider Amendment 4 a smashing success. Congratulations Florida, for finally getting something right. (In my opinion, of course.)

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Hanscom Voter Syndrome. A Disease Worth Avoiding.

Election day has come and gone here in King County, Washington State. We had less than a 26 percent turnout. That astounds me. The state of Washington makes it so easy to vote that it seems like pure heaven to this Florida girl.

In Florida, you had to wait for hours in the hot sun, sometimes only to be turned away. And you had to do your own homework to figure out who to vote for. Here, you vote by mail, and at least a week before the election you get a nice thick magazine that gives you information about every single candidate and issue so you can make an informed choice. If you don’t want to pay for the stamp to mail your ballot, there are free election drop boxes in many convenient locations. I’m surprised they don’t send a personal courier to your home, such is the ease of voting around here. And yet people still don’t vote. Stunning. Shameful.

But then there are some people who vote who clearly don’t take it seriously, either. It seems that some will vote for any clown who tumbles out of the political clown car, regardless of his fitness for duty. (Yeah, yeah, we learned this when Trump got elected, but silly me, I thought that would be all the lesson we would need. Apparently not.)

Case in point: Here’s the personal statement of Russell L. Hanscom, who ran for City of Kent Council Position No. 6. This isn’t a joke. It actually came from our voter’s magazine.


So, here’s a guy who’s coming right out and saying he isn’t sure he wants the job, and that if he gets it, odds are good that he won’t be effective. One wonders why he bothered to run at all. He actually said in a television interview that he was just being honest, and yet he expected it to be a tight race.

Personally, I couldn’t vote for or against him, as I don’t reside in the City of Kent. I would have LOVED voting against him, though. It seems like a no-brainer to me. The only thing that would have made me more certain was if someone had gotten him on tape bragging that he liked to grab pussies. (No. I’m not saying he did that. That was our president.) But apparently even that wouldn’t slow the voting public down.

Fortunately, the race wasn’t close at all. He got less than 28 percent of the vote, while his opponent, Brenda Fincher, got the rest. Yay!

But here’s what freaks me out: He got 3,616 votes. Seriously. 3,616 people read his statement, and apparently thought that commitment and effective representation were not qualities that they find to be particularly important in their city council, so they voted for Russell. Or maybe they didn’t bother reading his statement at all. Maybe they just didn’t want to vote for his opponent, an African American woman. That thought is equally scary to me, especially after reading her personal statement and getting the sense that she actually gives a damn about her city, and has worked quite hard for it.

Was Russell’s statement honest? Yeah. He definitely told it like it is. But he’s telling you that he’s going to be indifferent and a waste of human flesh, people! You think that’s funny? You think that’s admirable? Why?

Trump disease is still alive and well in this country. I will now think of it as HVS: Hanscom Voter Syndrome. And it makes me weep for those of us who have to live with the results. This time we got off easy. (If you think having one’s time wasted in any election is easy.)

At a bare minimum, Hanscom’s statement is insulting to those of us who take the process seriously. Please explain why we are setting the bar so low. I just don’t get it.

Congratulations, Brenda Fincher! Score one for the good guys! For a change.


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Allow Me to Simplify

Here lately, humanity seems to be struggling with concepts that should be pretty straightforward. It doesn’t make any sense at all. It is causing conflict and anxiety that seems completely unnecessary. Given that so many people these days don’t seem to want to think, let me lay down some basic concepts for you:

  • Nazis? Bad.

  • Texting while driving? Deadly.

  • Waiting your turn? You freakin’ better!

  • Violence? Bad.

  • Compassion? Karma, baby.

  • Net neutrality? Crucial.

  • Racism and/or sexism? Idiotic.

  • Flossing? Necessary.

  • A fur coat for your schnauzer when people are starving? Unconscionable.

  • A right to health care? Obviously.

  • Voting? The most important thing you can do.

  • Helping yourself to my french fries? Get your own.

  • Not pulling right up to the car in front of you in a traffic jam, thus preventing the people behind you from getting through intersections sometime this century? MORONIC.

  • Abuse of power? May your chickens come home to roost, and soon.

  • Courtesy and Respect? The bedrock of civilization.

  • Education? Critically important.

  • Science? Real.

  • Smoking? Bad for you. Even worse for those who love you.

  • Human rights and basic freedom for everyone? Duh.

  • Paying your fair share? Of course.

  • Vaccinations? Not important, as long as you’re okay with having the life expectancy we had in the freakin’ 1600’s.

  • Global warming? HERE. NOW.

  • Abuse of children or animals? Sick. Demented. One of the few things worthy of torture.

  • Taking care of the planet? A good idea if you want to live.

  • Blocking the grocery aisle because you’ve run into a friend? STUPID.

None of these concepts seem particularly controversial to me. And yet here we are, a world divided on these issues. I don’t get it. I really don’t. Please make me understand.

common sense

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