Giving Thanks…Where to Start?

The exercise of giving thanks is a fairly complicated exercise when you think about it.  I have a tendency to thank everybody with whom I interact if I have initiated the interaction in the interest of self or even of others.  I am personally interacting with another person, taking their time, interrupting whatever it was they were up to at the time and generally seeking something from them.  It doesn’t depend upon the significance of whatever I’m asking of them, it is simply a recognition that they’ve permitted me to access them and consume some of their time…which is a quantified thing even though we don’t quite know how much we have left, and we tend not to think of our time as being limited since it hasn’t likely yet been limited, to our knowledge at least.

The ‘something’ might be their approval or their opinion or their ideas on a certain topic or a myriad range of other things.  It might be their response to something I think to be funny or at least of interest or disgusting or just something I think deserves acknowledgment.  It could be as innocent as a comment on what a beautiful day we’re having, or what a pretty color that house is, or what a cute doggy that was, or what a beautiful car that was that drove past.

So many of our daily interactions simply occur without much thought being given; at least that seems the way it is for me.  Those interactions about which we do think often involve something we wish we’d have said or that we wish we could take back.  Too often, there is the tendency to engage mouth before engaging brain, if you are at all human.

I tend to see things I think would be of interest to others and feel somewhat compelled to mention that; to share those things with whoever is within sharing distance if they’re not a total stranger (that having been said, even total strangers sometimes hear from me).  That can be in the form of this blog or a casual verbal interaction.

Some of my ‘sharing’ actually involves people whom I have never met or even seen before, as mentioned above, but with whom I’ve just experienced something interesting or frightening or beautiful or sad.  If we’ve just had a common experience, that sometimes simply begs a brief remark…or at least so it seems to me.  My better half likely wishes I’d curtail that habit, and sometimes I actually agree with her that I should, at least until the next shiny object catches my eye.

Giving thanks becomes a habit after practicing a while.  It simply is part of who/what we are as individuals.  Some never exhibit the fact that they’ve had that experience likely because that simply isn’t the way they’re put together socially.  Or, because they don’t see things quite the same way as I seem to see things.  Or, they have much more important and consuming thoughts on their minds that overcome any urge they might’ve had to acknowledge what they’ve seen.

I fear that for some, there is simply not enough appreciation of what they see to make it seem worthy of mention.  From my slightly skewed perspective, life will have proved to be far too short to not have engaged in that sharing of things we’ve seen or experienced that touched us in a special way.  Yes, there are concerns and some of those concerns rise to the level of blurring all else at the moment.  Some of my most memorable encounters have been at a time I least expected to have the encounter.  Those are the impromptu encounters often with a stranger or at least someone with whom I am barely acquainted.

Admittedly, I occasionally get a strange look from some at those times, but, generally, I must travel amidst kindred spirits since I usually am at least acknowledged as having said something or made an observation that tracked with theirs.  And, yes, there are those times when I really wish I’d have kept my mouth shut, however, those are relatively few and far between, thus I don’t seem to learn anything from them…at least nothing lasting.

I give thanks for all the past experiences that have made me what I am today, and for all those yet-to-have-been-had experiences which will impact yet today, tomorrow and each tomorrow to come until there are no more tomorrows.  And, since we seldom know just when our experiences on this earth will cease to occur, it seems a shame to waste even a minute…unless that was spent looking at a sunrise, or watching a momma bird teach junior how to locate and get to an earthworm.  You know, the really important stuff of this lifetime!

May your today be filled with wonderful experiences, and may those even be found amidst the trials and tribulations we each face.  May we find the ability to seize those momentary opportunities that, once past, are no more to be found.

My wishes for a happy, bountiful and yummy Thanksgiving experience…and for those with whom you’ll have the opportunity to interact…and maybe, just maybe, to brighten a day.

Political Combat Zone…

We have come a long way from the barber shop, beauty shop, or coffee shop get-together where guys and gals talked about the news of the day, solved the problems of the world and still had time to get some work done.  And…left the discussion still as friends looking forward to the next morning’s coffee or shave and a trim.

Today, the barber/beauty shops/coffee shops of our earlier lives would be abuzz, as usual.  There used to be a semblance of collegiality even as people perched on opposite sides of the various issues of the day.  Collegiality is among the casualties in this new world in which we find ourselves.

We take our news in a way that might be similar to getting a transfusion through a garden hose, or, as is the case once-in-awhile today, through A FIRE HOSE.  Today we see that six Democrats in the House of Representatives have launched another impeachment effort aimed at our President generally claiming that he is a danger to the country.  Another Federal Judge has decided that he knows better than the President so he is blocking whatever is the issue-of-the-day in his world.

Of course, these things seem to crowd the more sordid Democrat scandal of the day or the week off the front pages…as is no doubt the intention of Dems, and even of many in the press who are supposed to (ha-ha) have no dog in political races.

Given all this extra-curricular activity, one wonders just how anything really productive can possibly get done in our Congress.  And, frankly, I don’t think this Congress has done its job at all.  In fact, if we were to keep score as we do in baseball, there’d be a string of hundreds of scoreless innings with occasional dust-ups requiring an umpire to sort out the damage.

This all bothers me since I think highly of the Speaker of the House, and I want our country to reap the benefits of a working Congress and a President who is not getting the credit he deserves in contrast to all the garbage that gets dumped in his lap every morning.

This is one of those times when it seems that the Dems are acting like the latest street gang in a large city taking on any and all comers without regard to what the comers were attempting to do to improve the neighborhood.  Democrat-appointed Federal Judges block anything and everything just because President Trump is in favor of this or that.

Standing federal law is simply ignored by the Dems because they don’t agree with it, or it would damage their pet position-of-the-day.  This has become the order of the day in our political world.  The happening of the month is when something President Trump has been associated with is actually implemented or not implemented based on his beliefs as to what is best for our country.

All this folderol is simply stalling the process to benefit a political party beset with pettiness without regard to what would be best for the country.  The Dems are going to go into a corner and pout while they suck on their pacifiers, and occasionally emerge to block this, that or the other thing pushed by the Republicans.

I can almost imagine the local barber shops and the local coffee shops around our country where people gather daily to opine on the issues of the day or week.  The clucking about things done or not done fill the air.  There may be an occasional sharper  argument, but for the most part people are on their best behavior because they all live in the same community, and have known each other since childhood in many cases.

They have seen politicians come and go, and probably would be happy to tell you which ones today ought to be given a one-way ticket back home.  If our forefathers were to magically come back to the counter in the local coffee shop this morning, imagine their disgust at what passes for federal government at this stage in our country’s existence.  Imagine the arguments that would go on.  And, then, imagine that each would shake hands with the others and go about his or her business to return the next morning with the same group.

I fear that our governing group, the politicians, have forgotten what small town America is all about.  I know the Speaker comes from Janesville, WI and that community still has something of a small town ambiance you can feel.  That is America far more than Los Angeles or New York City are America.  We are somehow being sucked into a strange world dreamed up by the politicos that you and I don’t recognize.  Are we wrong or are they wrong?

I’d suggest that too many of the politicians we send off to Washington, D.C. lose touch with those of us who vote for them and who pay taxes in order for them to have money to spend to make our cities and states better places in which to live.  They, unlike our state level politicians, live in that never-never land that simply isn’t America.  We need to be sure we help them keep both feet on the ground.

Just look at the haughty attitude of the immediate past President the next time he is shown on camera. This is not a man that represents you and me anymore than Santa Claus.  This is a man who finds himself above you and me and who has the condescending look of an emperor bothered by the little people.  He is so far removed from the downtown coffee shop that he wouldn’t know one if he saw it…unless a flunky made it known to him.  I wonder how he went from relatively little money in the bank to a multi-millionaire on what we paid him as President?

We’d be better off if we still had some of that good old hometown America flowing through our governing bodies.

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Most of Us Have Standards…

But, if the left didn’t have double standards, it seems many of them would have no standards at all…

That is a great line (wish it were mine), and it says a great deal in such a few words.  In the world of Democrats, the one true aphrodisiac is power.  Power is the epitome of being a Democrat.  Given the thirst for power, all else seems to be given short shrift.  Truth certainly is not given much billing.  The truth in this latest episode seemed to have gone away within some 12 to 18 hours.  The fact this was very old news before being broken days ago upholds my argument.  The truth is not a Dem drug of choice unless it provides the tool for the certain humiliation of a Republican.

If we but look at last week in Washington, D.C. we see everything we need to see to fully understand the Democrats.  Anything is fair with their brand of politics.  A ‘tongue down the throat’ is to be forgotten in a moment with the obvious participation of the grand old ‘mainstream media’.

Imagine, if you will, the past week and weekend if this were a Republican that had engaged in the offensive behavior that Senator Al Franken (D-MN) committed in an earlier life as something of a stand-up comedian.  The ‘someone’ would already be on his or her way out of the Senate!  And, the American press would be aghast; you would have to crawl under a large rock to get away from the banging of cymbals and blaring of horns decrying the conduct, demanding resignation and public humiliation to the “nth” degree.

I don’t recall that level of outcry having been heard in this situation.  This ‘story’ had been put away within some 36 hours of it being broken.  The offender is apparently hiding out for a few days somewhere in Northern Minnesota.  He’ll have found some new ‘something’ to be his latest standard in the liberal parade and that will quickly wipe away the stain of his earlier transgressions.

The old bromide, ‘all is fair in love and war’, needs to be revised so that it says ‘all is fair in love, war, and Democratic politics’.  Is there really anyone, on either side of the political aisle that doesn’t see this tawdry double standard?  Is there any Democrat that has the brass to confront this guy head-on and say it like it is?  It has been a week or more and none has stepped to the plate yet.  Each Dem who maintains his or her silence becomes culpable as the result of his or her intentional ignorance.  Where is Ms. Pelosi?  Where is Ms. Waters?

If anyone of us thought there was no leftward lean to the mainstream media, the lack of wall-to-wall public scorn from the media should provide us with the answer to that question.  The press has a decided leftward lean to it.  Can you even begin to imagine the outcry if this act was purported to have been conducted by our current President during an earlier time in his business career?

That would’ve been wall-to-wall for forty-eight to seventy-two hours and would still be the grist for headline after headline.  The demand for his resignation would’ve been seen an instant following the press’ release of that kind of story.  I call that, among other things, a huge double-standard for this mainstream media bunch, but they, of course, will never report that about themselves.

Most of us have standards.  But that statement seems to be refuted when we look at the Democrats in office in the swamp we know as the District of Columbia.  It also seems to be refuted when we look at what passes for the press these days and the absence of the story of the century branding a liberal U.S. Senator as a pariah.

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Trump Twitter Poll…

Black Lives Matter got a surprise when it used its Twitter account to take a simple poll.  The poll asked the readers to indicate whether they liked or disliked President Trump.  You know what is coming…the poll showed that of the 48,000+ votes cast, 67% approved of President Trump while 28% disapproved of him.  The remaining 5% supposedly picked the “Who is Donald Trump?” box.  Black Lives Matter deleted the Twitter poll when they were made aware of the count…but they obviously didn’t get rid of it soon enough.  Someone grabbed a screen print.

I am not surprised too much by this result.  President Trump has spoken quite bluntly about what he will do and then he does it.  That is quite uncommon amongst politicians and strikes a resonant chord with many if I don’t miss my guess.  The blunt talk that leaves little to the imagination, I think, appeals to many people and color makes little if any difference.

Too many of us are prejudiced by politics due to politicians who have come and gone.  We remember those who were true to their word almost without regard to the positions they took on various issues.  Among the things that sets President Trump apart is his blunt statements of fact.  He has not yet succumbed to the need to begin ‘gilding lilies’, and it seems very unlikely that he will do so.

In this day and age, a what you see is what you get approach especially in politics is refreshing even if you don’t always like it.  I wonder if that might not be what caused this Twitter poll to produce the results it did?  So many people, of all races, have become disenchanted by politics because of the way too many politicians abuse the political system, and this poll likely tapped into that vein unexpectedly.

Donald Trump is a political anomaly.  He does what we often least expect.  That seems a quality that we place significant value on.  We elected him to be our President.  ‘We’ includes those of all races as Black Lives Matter apparently just learned.

The Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy recently made a forceful statement concerning racism at the Academy when he bluntly told the assembled cadets “If you can’t treat someone from a different race or a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out”.  Some have seized on this as the opportunity to go after President Trump claiming he has shirked his duty if the Air Force Academy Commandant has to do his (the President’s) job.

On the contrary, the Commandant was simply echoing his Commander-in-Chief’s position with that statement, and it seems this twitter poll simply confirmed that President Trump is seen as tough on racism…as every American President and politician ought to be.  As much as they might hate the reality, liberals are losing ground as the result of us electing Donald Trump as our President.  I suspect that the Black vote for Donald Trump played a key role in the embarrassing showing mounted by Hillary Clinton.

Trump has shown us that he says what is on his mind, and we sometimes shudder a bit as the result, but he stands true to his word and that hits a very resonant chord with Americans of all races and ethnicities.

Our vote for Donald Trump had many implications, most favorable, that we will continue to learn about as time passes.  The Black Lives Matter Twitter poll is but one example of the fact that people of different skin colors saw in him a man who speaks the truth to power and doesn’t flinch a bit as he does so.  We have seen that also in foreign affairs.  This is a strong man who doesn’t mince words even though I sometimes wish he did, quite frankly.  He is very comfortable in his own skin.  He has made his fortune so he doesn’t really see much of a need to pussyfoot around an issue.

I think President Trump has a certain appeal to the “everyman” and the “everywoman” in our country; and, I think that will only grow stronger as time passes.  We’ve had our fill of pussyfooting politicians.  We’re tired of trying to understand what the latest politician said after listening to him or her for 15 minutes.

Trump has been refreshing much more than he has been embarrassing.  He says what he thinks.  Will that be embarrassing once in a while?  Yeah.  Is it still endearing to us that he is as human as you and me?  Yeah!  Not only you and I are learning this; all the leaders in this world are learning it.

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Swamp Creatures…

There seems credence to the idea that our nation’s Capitol is built upon what at one time long ago was a swampy area.  Whether or not totally factual, that lends itself so well to the purposes of today’s blog that we’ll presume it true.

Swamps render thoughts of creatures that are simply too frightening to permit a youngster to get to sleep at night.  It seems we have something of that genre present today and it is at least as ugly as anything we might conjure up in our mind’s eye.

We have what I prefer to label “Swamp Creatures” walking the halls of Congress.  These are dressed in many ways but tend to be troglodytes that manifest themselves when beautiful young women are in their midst.  We have heard these stories for so long as I can recall.  There is sufficient evidence to support that story in general, and there is enough specific evidence to support ascribing names to these Swamp Creatures.

The most recent Swamp Creature to emerge from the depths of depravity is one Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and he seems to have the demeanor to pull off the name.  Sleaze is not beyond this member of the species.  I fear that he is not the sole member of that group that thrives in Washington, D.C.

This disease afflicts members of all political genre and extends further than politics, I’m sure.  Franken is the most recent publicly identified member of the group.  There seems something that stems from the feeling of power that stimulates this behavior.  That may simply be the feeling that the instigator feels so powerfully, and it is apparently so difficult to control that the perpetrator feels it is okay for him to engage in where and when he finds a suitable target.

In the case of Sen. Franken, this activity was caught on film.  This is not simply a “she said, he said” story.  We have seen it.  He is obviously a member of a very powerful group of 100.  He is a member of the U.S. Senate.  His voters found him to be a satisfactory candidate for the office and elected him to the office.  (I disagree, but I digress.)  Will they return him to this office at the next opportunity to vote?  I don’t know but I fear this activity may’ve found, by that day, a place deep in the recesses of their minds so as to see him re-elected.

I do know that people in powerful positions seem to be given more latitude in the way they act.  We all know that those people can and often do find themselves ‘cut some slack’ with simple verbal punishment that seems to be gone overnight.  Some believe that those in positions of power are entitled to the occasional peccadillo.  We go “tut-tut” and then whatever precipitated that is tucked way back in the depth of our mind.

Sen. Franken is likely hoping this will be the case for him.  I certainly hope he is not re-elected.  I found it curious that he was elected in the first place, but that is me.  His actions were unprofessional, demeaning to females and seemingly done with either no thought of him suffering as the result or his knowledge that whatever the uproar, it would dissipate quickly.

Members of the United States Senate need be of better character than he has shown himself to have been at the time.  That body needs to be made up of people whom we can, at least, respect as a decent person even though we might find significant fault with their politics on occasion.

Senator Al Franken does not measure up in my opinion, and I sincerely hope his constituents reach that same conclusion.  There are more than enough genuine issues in the District of Columbia.  The idea that these are the types of people seated in our nation’s capitol is foreign to me…and I hope to most of us.  This one is up to the voters in Minnesota unless the U. S. Senate takes up the issues and castigates Franken as he deserves.

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Freedom of Religion, Except…

Sweetwater, TN has sued what seems a kindly grandfather, Paul Johnson, who was concerned that he needed to share his faith with others, and who chose to do that during the ‘celebration’ of the recent solar eclipse during that city’s Solar Eclipse Festival.  He stood on what sounds to be a public sidewalk and read from the Bible as people walked past him on their way to get into the Festival grounds.  He had also applied for a permit to do this but was denied since the city found this to be against its regulations concerning ‘demonstrations’.  Yes, he was apparently setting himself up to test the regulations imposed which he thought were improper.

An awkward moment?  Yes, I think most might agree with that description given the subject of personal faith that is seemingly often something about which we don’t wish to converse…at least not in public.  I consider myself a Christian and a follower of the Bible and Jesus Christ’s teachings, although woefully short on both counts.  I also would’ve found this a bit awkward but I certainly would not have thought this to be in violation of some local ordinance that went directly against at least one of the Articles of our Bill of Rights.  I might’ve found it made me a bit uncomfortable since I wasn’t the one reading that Bible or publicly demonstrating my faith.  I hope that wouldn’t be the case today but there was a time when I might have felt that way.

It takes things such as this to point up hypocrisies and even violations of basic rights, and it takes people such as Mr. Johnson who felt the need to expose this hypocrisy and to fight for his basic rights.  We may sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable in such situations, but we also should be able to realize that there is nothing illegal about such activities.  Groups engage in singing Christmas songs, carolers, and those typically have some religious overtones but I don’t recall the last time a caroler was arrested.  I engage in that activity with my church group every year at Christmastime.  There might be some grounds for arresting me for denigrating beautiful music with my shoddy renditions, but so far no one has seen fit to exercise their right to call the gendarmes.

Seriously, though, we have certain rights and those rights ought to be held inalienable without regard to human laws.  There is certainly a line of separation and we find courts trying to redefine those rights on occasion.  There is room for our individual faith and for the government’s requirements.  I am reading Antonin Scalia’s last book and find that among the basic tenants he held dear.  It might well be that the officials that day were not thinking about what he was reading as folks walked past but about some other municipal regulation, but the fact remains that he had the right to do what he was doing, as uncomfortable as that might have made some feel, and those rights were violated.

Those feeling uncomfortable might’ve been feeling that because his readings reminded them they had been remiss in their personal faith lives, as many of us are if we stop to think about that.  I’d like to think that I would’ve been receptive even though that might’ve seemed an untoward time for which to act as he acted…if there is such a time in such matters.

Awkward moments can be very effective teaching moments…sometimes the most effective teaching moments.  Thanks for the reminder Grandpa Johnson.

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Colorado Cannabis – 5 Years

Colorado has had legal medical marijuana use for five years and there seem to be some mixed reports.  I can find no news reports containing anything untoward about Cannabis in either the Denver or the Colorado Springs newspapers.  I have relatives in Colorado and I hear nothing but the adverse sides of cannabis and the results of this being the 5th anniversary of the approval of that weed for use in certain areas of medicine.  Hemp has never looked so promising.

The two schools of thought seem driven by either the money involved or the issues created by this approval some five or more years ago.  I see a push now for the legalization of Cannabis for recreational uses, and that was probably to be expected when the medicinal use was approved.

Given some of the reports from residents of Colorado, there are issues involved with the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes since some of it seems to find its way into recreational use (for quasi-medical or seemingly medical purposes) or has resulted in law enforcement issues.

Having found only medical use reports, I wondered about the recreational use of cannabis and lo and behold, there is activity on that front in Colorado.  There are efforts afoot to legalize marijuana for recreational use ongoing in the state.  I suspect that will probably be approved given the apparently relatively benign first five years of its legal existence in Colorado.

Untalked about is what I understand to be a growing recreational use problem with cannabis.  Anecdotally, people seemed to have known this was going to happen.  People have witnessed the deterioration of some communities where people have jumped the gun on recreational use, and have done so somewhat blatantly.  To the point that residents of the area choose not to shop in those communities given the people-driven reports coming from residents.

It seems that this problem has found its way into schools and has created some serious dependency issues amongst a younger population.  Legalized medical use had to be seen by some, at least, as the precursor to recreational use either illegally or legally.  Having relatives in that general area, we are privy to more of this discussion than many might be, but I do not doubt the veracity of the reports.

There is a ton of money to be made with marijuana whether legal or illegal or in a suspended state of something-in-the-middle.  That also breeds issues with the less-than-desirable element that trades on the misfortune of others with nary the blink of an eye.  There is an obvious element that jumps on these kinds of opportunities and there are those who will turn a blind eye to the issue IF they receive some kind of compensation, or promises of same, for having such poor vision.  Smoking clubs have sprouted where, of course(?), only those with medical issues consume cannabis.  I doubt that it would take a lot to find a person with an MD behind his or her name who would like to pick up some extra money.

There can be little to no doubt about where this is going.  Cannabis will be legalized for private use without a medical Rx in the not-too-distant future in Colorado.  There is simply too much money to be made for this not to occur.  And that money will get to many places before anyone would’ve predicted.  This will occur given the “very favorable”  experience with medical marijuana; never mind all that anecdotal baloney.  That comes from those incessant naysayers who know not what they preach about.  That argument will suffice until it is too late.  There is simply so much money to be made that common-sense will not exist.

Interestingly enough, there seems now to be an increase in heroin addiction in Colorado, but there probably is no direct and traceable link to medical marijuana…or if there were to be there is enough money to cause memories to be blanked out.  Cannabis is also, conveniently, used in the treatment of such addictions, so that is but one more link to make cannabis a more friendly ‘product’.

All this aside, there is MONEY, actually, there is MONEY involved that can blur other lines of thought.  Recreational use of marijuana in Colorado is not too far away.  Lawmakers will certainly want to do what is right…but what is right can be distorted depending upon the lens one looks through.  Wonder what the odds would be if that question were put to the people?  And what the odds would be if voted upon in the statehouse is anyone’s guess.  There are already cannabis business development and management consulting firms at work and a 501(c)3 cannabis consumer watchdog and advocacy organization in place.

Any bets on if…or are we now simply betting on when?