Stuart Egan: Betsy DeVos IS the Status Quo

Diane Ravitch's blog

Stuart Egan, a high school teacher in North Carolina, notes that Betsy DeVos relies on two rhetorical strategies: 1. Pleasant (and meaningless) platitudes; 2. A decided opposition to “the status quo.” She, who insisted at her Senate hearing on being called Mrs. DeVos wants to disrupt traditional public schools, not charters or religious schools.

She loves “great schools.”

She likes schools that “put children first.”

Platitudes.

Calls for disruption.

Who knew that conservatives believed in destroying traditional institutions?

Egan writes:

“Ironically, the conversation about changing the “status-quo” in public education has been fueled more by the business world and politicians who have been altering the terrain of public education with “reforms.”

“A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Every Student Succeeds Act, Common Core, SAT, ACT, standardized tests, achievement gap, graduation rates, merit pay, charter schools, parent triggers, vouchers, value added-measurements, virtual schools, Teach For…

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Phineas Luther Logan – Our Newest Addition to the Family

We are adopting a dog.

We lost our beloved Boo Radley this past winter and have decided to adopt another dog, preferably one that was rescued, young, and chill enough to be around Malcolm but watch him as if he was a member of the pack.

And we found ourselves this fine boy.

finn3

“Jackson” as he was called was rescued from Charleston and he is a Great Pyrenees with a  southern accent. Great Pyrenees were bred to watch over flocks of sheep and goats in the Pyrenees Mountains and are generally regarded as calm, nurturing, and protective of their brood.

And they are huge. This guy is supposedly skinny and getting weight put back on him, but that’s not what really sold us on him.

McK has a gift with animals. She tends to bond with animals quickly, especially dogs. Her Silver Award project for Girl Scouts centered on caring for older dogs. There was no doubt that she and “Jackson” got along.

finn1

It was how he and Malcolm bonded. Malcolm does not bond with animals unless he finds them approachable, and this dog is much bigger than Malcolm. This dog could swallow Malcolm.

But that did not stop Malcolm from going to him, petting him, and putting a stick in his mouth without any insistence from us. Malcolm even called him by name.

And they visited.

Good times.

Better times to come.

And a better name compliments of the McKster and her mother.

“Phineas Luther Logan.”

“Phineas” just sounds cool.

“Luther” is for Edris Elba’s character who kicks British ass and talks sophisticated plus he is apparently easy on the eyes to the women folk in our house.

“Logan” is for Wolverine of the X-Men as McK and I are big fans of the Marvel chain of superheroes.

We’re going to call him “Phin” – easy for Malcolm to say when they pal around.

finn2

 

Malcolm’s Season Opener  – 2 for 2 with 27 RBI’s, 4 SB’s, and some Cheetos

The Chellenger League started today. 

So out came the red helmet, the red coat, and the new red glove and off to the Watertower Field at Wake Forest. 

All that practice is paying off. 

Here’s the first at-bat. 


As you can see – a screamer up the middle. Then the allusive “forget first, going to second base” maneuver works. 

Also notice the hiking up of the pants while running. 

That’s speed. 

To burn. 

Here’s the second at-bat. 

​​​

Same tactic except a more direct route to second base. 

After each side winning we had Cheetos which made Malcolm’s face as red as his helmet. 

Hey Wake Forest Fans – This Is The Team To Watch

I know. We made it to a bowl game and won. And I am excited about what we may do next year.

And we made it to the dance for the first time in years. If Collins comes back, the Deacs may have a chance to make a lot more noise next year.

But you need to start paying attention to the Diamond Deacs.

Last night, our boys of spring went to second-ranked Louisville and handed them their first home loss of the year.

Last weekend, they won a series in Coral Gables against the University of Miami for the first time ever.

They are ranked in every major college poll in the nation.

They lead the nation in home runs.

They have beaten four ranked teams.

They beat last year’s national champions on the road.

It’s been a while since we have been to a bowl game, gone to the dance, and hosted a regional.

That, and I really like this retro-looking jersey they are wearing this year.

deacsbaseball

Go Deacs!

The Sartorial Splendor of Malcolm – A Fashionable Musing That Will Make You Jealous Of…

…vestiary  genius.

Our handsome little man is the spitting image of his stunning mother. No doubt of the maternal resemblance.

He got his ability to talk with the ladies from his Grandpa Ed.

He got his dance moves from listening to his sister’s music.

So what did he get from his paterfamilias? And dammit, I am the paterfamilias!

paterfamilias

FASHION SENSE!

Style.

Vogue.

Trend Setter.

The GQ Gene.

Knowing what to wear and when to wear is not learned. It’s in the blood. And we have the proof.

mal1

Here Malcolm models pirate underwear, white socks, teal colored shirt and over sized water shoes – a must-have for the spring season. It’s colorful, airy, and comfy.

mal2

Here we have the early morning Olivia Newton-John / Xanadu / I am about to do aerobics in my pj’s / outfit with glasses and a bowl of Cheetos. Headband and facial expressions are vital accessories.

mal3

This outfit is perfect for bedtime stories and communicating that you do not want any more ear drops for the ear infection.

mal4

With the Final Four this weekend, it is hard to forget the baggy shorts of the Fab Five from the University of Michigan. However, instead of basketball shoes, we have water slippers and a baseball undershirt.

mal5

West Wear. Mix and match. Can’t go wrong. Again notice the baggy shorts.

mal6

Baggy shorts with sweater vest. NO UNDERSHIRT! That is a must for this look. However, you must have the “pipes” to pull off the work casual of the sweater vest without the shirt underneath.

Sometimes you can accessorize with black socks with black flops.

mal7

Napolean Dynamite boots. One can dance in them as well.

napolean

mal8

No need to explain. When you wear a cape, all else matches! He’s wearing a tie – must be an important meeting. The head band means that he is ready for lots of thinking.

mal9

Again, West Wear goes with anything.

mal10

And last, but not least, the no-socks look.

 

 

 

West Jones Street and The Eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg

“But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic — their irises are one-yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground” (The Great Gatsby, Chapter 2).

Almost every student who passes through an American literature class has the opportunity to at least glimpse into the classic text of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In a day and age of instant gratification and movie adaptations, plot lines and lists of symbols are easily accessed, the patience needed to be pleasantly haunted by a work of true literature sometimes escapes even the best of intentions.

But Gatsby is a book that is rather quick to read, easy to absorb, and forever reflected upon. Among my junior English classes, whether AP level or not, Gatsby tends to be the favorite. Students feel smarter for having read it. They despise the right people. They wrestle with the shallowness of the characters. They seem to like the character who spent so much time becoming the person he was not. They come to look at a narrator as unreliable.

And they pick up on the symbols like the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.

When someone sits for a picture or portrait and stares straight into the lens the result is the appearance of constant eye contact. The poster of James Baldwin in my classroom as he looks into the camera allows his eyes to always make contact with mine no matter where I am in the classroom. His smile, however, takes away any preclusion of judgement.

But the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg simply stare without any other expression. They are there to judge. They are the “eyes of God” in a society where many in power lack a moral compass, show spiritual depravity, and worship profit more than the welfare of others.

eyes1

They never blink.

They always look.

They seem to see all.

I followed him over a low whitewashed railroad fence, and we walked back a hundred yards along the road under Doctor Eckleburg’s persistent stare (Chapter 2).

I am thinking of starting a GoFundMe Page to raise money to construct another billboard for the obviously deceased and still fictional Doctor T. J. Eckleburg complete with the same “blue and gigantic” eyes with “irises one-yard high” on “no face” complete with “a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose.”

And this billboard would be placed right outside of the North Carolina General Assembly building on West Jones Street, possibly near the parking area where each lawmaker who leaves the building would have to lock eyes with the celestial oculist after a day of wielding power that affects so many people.

“I spoke to her,” he muttered, after a long silence. “I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to the window.”— with an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it ——” and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!’”

Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night (Chapter 8).

Amazingly enough, if you were to visit the webpages of most of these lawmakers during election periods you might find some sort of piety meter that reflects their allegiance to a faith in God and Christian tenets.

We are in the Bible Belt. We are in a nation that calls itself Christian. We are by far the most evangelical country in the world. We are used to hearing people talk about how they bare their souls to God and look to God for guidance.

Yet,

  • Lawmakers just passed a resolution to repeal a discriminatory law that still allows for discrimination.
  • Lawmakers are sitting on bills like HB13 that are forcing public school systems to contemplate how to keep vital arts programs alive and keep teacher assistants in classrooms that are already crowded.
  • Lawmakers are funneling more money to religious private schools like Trinity Christian which is under investigation for embezzlement and shoddy accounting.
  • Lawmakers are refusing to expand Medicaid that would help more North Carolinians.
  • Lawmakers are considering measures like HB467 to keep NC residents from suing industrial farms for polluting their air and water.
  • Lawmakers are considering increasing health care costs for state employees while bragging about “surpluses.”

I understand. It may be a tad bit hyperbolic to equate a book that talks of a man who uses organized crime to build a life of opulence during the “Jazz Age” / “Age of Prohibition” in an attempt to control destiny who ends up crossing paths with a man of immense wealth who steamrolls over people because he can and looks at women and minorities as inferior then eventually gets killed by a mentally, spiritually, and financially crushed man to a modern setting.

Or is it?

By the way, the original billboard for Dr. Eckleburg is in the “Valley of Ashes.” Imagine if those ashes got into the water.

eyes2

 

What That Billboard Taught Me About Real Men

The Consitution gives us Americans the right of freedom of speech.

 

And that means we can advertise on billboards.

Apparently that billboard on I-40 between Winston-Salem and K-Vegas is experiencing the most testosterone-driven liberty America has to offer, but it is coming at a cost.

No. I do not mean it is driving a wedge between us as a nation. That was already there.

But it is showing us that real men do not have a need for better schooling in grammar and logic as well as in maintaining identity. Real men are above that.

Here is the latest billboard.

coupons

So, “Real Men Don’t Use Coupons Our coupons have pictures of dead Presidents and Statesman, and are good anytime anyplace.”

So we have a run-on sentence that contradicts itself by utilizing something that the speaker claims to not use (coupons) and erroneously capitalizes titles without proper names behind the then fails to pluralize an object of a preposition to keep accuracy then inserts a comma where it is not needed then does not separate two adverbs with a comma that modify the same adjective.

That’s about as grammatically correct as… the last billboard.

If you have kept up with the saga of the “Real Men” billboards, then you know that the owner of the billboard rental business, Bill Whiteheart, would not identify the people responsible for the first two installments which were:

“Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.”

“Much Ado About Nothing. A social experiment that brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror they could only see an angry victim of their incorrect interpretation of a silly billboard — Bless their hearts.”

This blog had posts on both of those billboards-

https://caffeinatedrage.com/2017/03/01/real-men-dont-use-billboards-to-tell-any-woman-what-they-should-do/

https://caffeinatedrage.com/2017/03/05/shakespeare-and-that-billboard/

But according to the Winston-Salem Journal article on this particular billboard, this renter of this message has no problem whatsoever in identifying himself (http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/man-takes-credit-for-puzzling-new-business-billboard/article_013de4a9-5a95-55f2-b084-0dbe5093f679.html#comments).

The billboard also lists a website, which identifies Mitch Carr, an auto mechanic from Kensington, Md., as the man behind the billboard.

 

The website says Carr, who runs a Mercedes Repair business outside of Washington, D.C., enjoys challenging political views and is “politically in the center but believes that people with running water, heat, air conditioning and full bellies shouldn’t whine so much.”

You need to see that website. In fact here it is. It’s called hoohabook.com.

hoohabook

He’s a bit of a writer! The word “hooha” as part of the website’s name? Intriguing!

You might want to look at an excerpt of the book he is promoting on the billboard. He has one on the website – http://hoohabook.com/excerpts-real-men-dont-use-coupons/.

I probably would not use some of these on a first date, but I am not a real man according to this man’s definition as I am a monogamist male in a relationship with a lady who is a hell of a lot smarter than I am who also happens to be the mother of our children and my best friend.

You do what you want.

It’s America. I am allowed to be that. So are you.

He says he wrote that book referred to on the billboard to raise money for what seems like a worthwhile cause. He just does it in an Andrew Dice Clay fashion maybe?

And of course, I am actually giving him advertising by writing about him. America!

But this is what caught my eye. On the “About the Author” page of hooha.com  he states,

“Author E.M. Carr is better known to friends and family as Mitch Carr and is an auto mechanic from Kensington Maryland.

His other endeavors include two music CDs where he is the songwriter and producer, and two Novels written under the pen name of Rhett Dawn Home.

Not only is he a writer. He has a pen name that he writes under.

 

Pen name of Rhett Dawn? What? And he has a web site for that name as well? That’s the website he should be advertising on the billboard here in North Carolina.

Hell yes, I went there.

rhett dawn

If you want to read some excerpts, then read the excerpts from that website. Here – http://www.rhettdawn.com/excerpts-congressmans-wife/.

Oh, hell. I’ll save you the time.

We smiled at each other and I realized my hand was now completely over hers, stroking her hair line as her hand rested against her cheek. She looked up at me and there were those eyes again. There was something in there and I wanted to know more. Here I was with a woman I had spent less than an hour with and knew nothing about, who was opening herself up to me for no reason other than I was a nice person who helped her get her car started.
It seemed crazy, but I wasn’t leaving………

“One last kiss.”
“Here?”
“Here and now!”
“Okay,” she conceded.
I walked her off the edge of the path and up against a very large oak tree. I lifted her arms above her head and kissed her deep. At nearly six feet tall, I towered over her slender figure. I held her arms up by the wrist with her arms supported by my inner elbows and suckled her tongue as she surrendered to my masculinity. I moved my hands down her arms to her cheeks and held her head in my hands as I continued for at least another minute. Her eyes were closed and she kept her arms raised above her head. Her body was resting against the tree and I hoped it was because she was weak in the knees……..

I turned for the door and in an instant the other two were up and across the room with one between me and the door, and the other close enough that he could get in a solid punch if need be. I turned back around and said nothing. I assumed he wasn’t there for confirmation, but for some sort of retribution. I had imagined what I would say if ever confronted, but I realized I was just doing that with the belief that it would never happen, because I couldn’t think of anything to do but let things play out. He looked at me and said, “What, no denial? No excuse? Not even a Sir Galahad taking the blame to protect his lover?”

Move over Cormac McCarthy. Move over Philip Roth. You are both pansies. Thank God Kurt Vonnegut is dead. He was not man enough to write prose like this.

And yes, there is even a chance to get these books on Amazon where you can read about the author Rhett Dawn. But alas…

“The author has chosen to remain mildly discreet for now, but suffice to say he is local to Montgomery County and some names were changed to protect the innocent.”

It’s like Rhett has chosen to remain aloof like the people behind the first two billboards.

One would need to read the rest of the Journal’s story to get a little more understanding of Mr. Carr’s reasoning of why he took out the advertising billboard two states away from his home.

He said he drove by the original sign, posted in February, that declared: “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.”

It was later replaced with: “Much Ado About Nothing. A social experiment that brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror they could only see an angry victim of their incorrect interpretation of a silly billboard — Bless their hearts.”

Carr said the messages inspired him.

“Real men are sort of a dying breed in this country,” he said. “I consider myself one. You know one when you see one.”

The new message is intended to start a dialogue on what it means to be a “real man,” Carr contends.

“What it means is it’s a knock on men who dropped out of the ranks just because life got easy,” Carr said while explaining the new billboard.

“Just because the war stops doesn’t mean a soldier stops training. We need more real men out there.”

And Mr. Carr’s inspiration has inspired me to list all of the things that I have learned about being a real man from the very billboard that, lo, resides so close to me.

  1. Real men use bad grammar because real men know what they really mean.
  2. Real men are inspired by real billboards.
  3. Real men provide real billboards that women can appreciate.
  4. Real men don’t use coupons that allow them to save more of the coupons that they really use.(I know. It’s confusing).
  5. Real men do social experiments.
  6. Real men make Shakespearean references that don’t make sense to people who actually studied Shakespeare but may not be real men.
  7. Real men bless people’s hearts.
  8. Real men only use coupons that have dead white guys on them so while there may be an expiration date on coupons that many people use, real men use real coupons that have expired people on them.
  9. Real men self promote on billboards books that are self-published.
  10. Real men use pen names that seem generated by a William Faulkner adult entertainment computer program.
  11. Real men are a dying breed. Everyone else lives forever.
  12. Real men talk about how they are real men to, you know, stir the pot and start a dialogue.

Mr. Carr can say anything he wants.

He can spend his 2600$ with Mr. Whiteheart for a month’s worth of space and help the local economy.

He can advertise all he wants. Hell, I have done it for him with a lot of fun and glee I might add.

But he did say “people with running water, heat, air conditioning and full bellies shouldn’t whine so much.”

Whether he believes it or not (and I could give exactly zero f***s), the same freedom that allows him to rent that billboard in a state he does not even reside in and whine about what he thinks real men should do allows me to complain and whine as much as I want about anything I want.

America!

 

 

 

The Art of “Bang and Blame” – A Long Distance R.E.M. Dedication to Donald Trump

Friday, March 24, 2017.

House Republicans on Capitol Hill will be voting on Trump’s health care bill and it seems like Donald Trump may be facing a legislative failure in his first big legislative push.

And it set in motion a chain of interrelated thoughts.

First, there is this proclamation that came from one Donald Trump when he made his candidacy for president about his unique ability to make and seal the “deal.”

Art of deal

Interestingly enough, he used the word “art” in the title of the book that he never wrote, and ironically, it is the “arts” that he has specifically targeted in his budget proposal to boost military spending.

But Trump’s “art” really is not in making the deal. It’s in knowing when to take credit for himself and when to blame others when the outcomes of his actions, or lack thereof, create unpleasant results. And actually, it’s not an art as much as it has become a reflex practiced over and over again with the knowledge that he could always buy himself new opportunities.

CNN.com had a very interesting article called “Deal or no deal, Trump ready to cast blame” on the home page (3/24/17) and both Jeremy Diamond and Dana Bash stated,

Painting the President as a political neophyte who has only been in Washington for two months, the source said Trump has become “frustrated with his staff’s inability to get this done” and argued that Trump was misled by those staffers who urged him to tackle Obamacare head first and hitch himself to Ryan’s plan.

“He was talked into doing this bill first. It was not negotiated well on his behalf,” the source said. “He’s relied on his staff to give him good information and they haven’t. And that’s the problem.”

The source close to Trump described a president who felt bamboozled by Ryan and his own staff, duped into thinking that passing health care would be the quick victory he needed to make good on a campaign promise central to his election and push forward on other policy fronts (http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/24/politics/donald-trump-health-care-blame/index.html).

And then it occurred to me once again that there is an R.E.M. song that literally explains this whole ordeal and encapsulates the egotistical and obsessive will of the president to protect the thin, fragile, fleshy membrane that covers him: “Bang and Blame.”

REMBangBlame

The chorus sings through Michael Stipe’s original, unprocessed, thoughtful, and activist voice.

“You know that’s not my thing, you came to bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
Then blame, blame, blame.
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
It’s not my thing so let it go, you
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
Then blame, blame, blame.
It’s not my thing so let it go.”

Think of it. It’s not hard to come up with a multitude of synonyms for both “bang” and “blame” – both connotatively and denotatively.

Bang” – (from thesaurus.com) belt, blow, bop, crack, knock, rap, slam, smack, sock, strike, swat, thump, thwack, wallop, whack, whop; or (in slang terms) have sexual intercourse with

Blame” – (from thesaurus.com) allege, attack, betray, charge, cite, criminate, denounce, frame, impeach, indict, libel, pin-on, slander, slur, sue

It seems that much of what Trump says either objectifies and belittles women (Bang) or places culpability (Blame) on others.

CBSNews.com one time compiled a list of Trump’s “wildest” quotes, and you could actually classify most of these quotes under the heading of “Bang” or “Blame” as they are either attacking someone (particularly women) else or absolving responsibility and placing it upon others (http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/wild-donald-trump-quotes/) .

  • “I don’t think Ivanka would do that inside the magazine. Although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I would be dating her.” – BANG!
  • “Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” – BLAME!
  • “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.” – BANG!
  • “Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.” – BLAME!
  • “@ariannahuff is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.” – BANG!
  • “I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.” – BLAME!
  • “You know, it doesn’t really matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” – BANG!
  • “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.” – BLAME!
  • “While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.” – BANG!
  • “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” – BLAME!
  • “I’ve never had any trouble in bed, but if I’d had affairs with half the starlets and female athletes the newspapers linked me with, I’d have no time to breathe.” – BANG!
  • “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” – BLAME!
  • “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” – BANG!
  • “Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say China, in a trade deal?” – BLAME!
  • “Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.” – BANG!
  • “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” – BLAME!
  • “I love women. They’ve come into my life. They’ve gone out of my life. Even those who have exited somewhat ungracefully still have a place in my heart. I only have one regret in the women department — that I never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer. I met her on a number of occasions.” – BANG!
  • “I dealt with Qaddafi. I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn’t let him use the land. That’s what we should be doing. I don’t want to use the word ‘screwed’, but I screwed him. That’s what we should be doing.” – BANG & BLAME!

And with an impending defeat in this first of legislative miscues that hurt the very people who propelled him into office, it may not be too hard to see why “it’s not my thing.”

rem-bang-and-blame-album-version-1994-cs

And how apropos is it that this particular image of a ’45 featuring “Bang And Blame” is complete with “Losing My Religion,” “Country Feedback,” and “Begin The Begin”?

Song #1 explains Trump’s method of operation as far as his “leadership” style is concerned.

Song #2 explains the disconnect of his policies and those of Paul Ryan with the tenets of the very religion they espouse.

Song #3 explains how people are starting to feel about Trump’s policies – the very people who helped to elect him and he seems to have ignored now while he is in “Ignoreland.”

Song #4 explains that this may be the beginning of something. Maybe?

But it is neat to see that three of those songs were recorded live for Greenpeace, which I am sure receives no love from Trump.

Nor does Sesame Street and PBS. But they do love them some R.E.M.

FurryHappyMonstersSong

“Bang And Blame”

If you could see yourself now, baby,
It’s not my fault, you used to be so in control.
You’re going to roll right over this one.
Just roll me over, let me go,
You’re laying blame.
Take this as no, no, no, no, no.

You bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
Then blame, blame, blame,
You bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
It’s not my thing so let it go.

If you could see yourself now, baby,
The tables have turned, the whole world hinges on your swings,
Your secret life of indiscreet discretions.
I’d turn the screw and leave the screen,
Don’t point your finger,
You know that’s not my thing.

You came to bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
To blame, blame, blame,
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
It’s not my thing so let it go now.

You’ve got a little worry,
I know it all too well.
I’ve got your number —
But so does every kiss and tell
Who dares to cross your threshold,
Or happens on you way,
Stop laying blame.
You know that’s not my thing.

You know that’s not my thing, you came to bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
Then blame, blame, blame.
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
It’s not my thing so let it go, you
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,
Then blame, blame, blame.
It’s not my thing so let it go.

You kiss on me,
Tug on me,
Rub on me,
Jump on me.
You bang on me,
Beat on me,
Hit on me,
Let go on me.
You let go on me.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and Really Bad Letters to the Editor

Yes, Virginia! There is a Santa Claus.

And there’s GINA!

Plus there is a lot of erroneous information in your op-ed printed in today’s Winston-Salem Journal.

Much has been made of your bill H.R. 1313, The Persevering Employee Wellness Programs Act and its dystopian implications on genetic privacy laws already outlined in the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or GINA.

Your letter to the editor this morning seemed more like an attempt to save face in light of the prospect that the current version of Rep. Ryan and President Trump’s healthcare overhaul will fail miserably. The text of that letter follows:

“REP. VIRGINIA FOXX, Banner Elk

H.R. 1313

I believe the Journal’s March 15 editorial “A wrongheaded bill on genetic screening” misrepresents legislation to provide regulatory clarity for voluntary employee wellness plans.

A provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) encouraged greater use of these wellness programs. However, steps taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) led to conflicting regulations. Those who want to offer these programs must either follow the ACA guidelines and be in violation of the EEOC rules or vice versa. By reaffirming the policies outlined in the ACA, H.R. 1313 removes this legal uncertainty so employees can continue to benefit from these voluntary wellness plans.

It’s important to understand that wellness programs have always been completely voluntary. They remain voluntary under H.R. 1313. Furthermore, discrimination based on genetic information is illegal under existing federal law and remains illegal under H.R. 1313.

The editorial also claims the legislation imposes financial penalties on individuals who decline to participate. I disagree. In programs that offer incentives, those who choose to enroll can receive a reduction in their health-insurance premiums. Those who decline to participate are not forced to pay any additional health-care costs, nor will they experience any increase in their health-insurance premiums.

Voluntary employee wellness plans have long helped working families control their health-care costs and improve their quality of life. It’s unfortunate that critics of the bill are spreading false information to deny workers that option.

Virginia Foxx is North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District representative. — the editor (http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/the-readers-forum-thursday-letters/article_fcc96549-17dd-584c-beab-33c3d8e8a430.html). “

While I very much appreciate your interpretation of the law, it fails to explain why “nearly 70 organizations, representing consumer, health and medical advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, AARP, March of Dimes, and the National Women’s Law Center, said the legislation, if enacted, would undermine basic privacy provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA” (http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/employees-who-decline-genetic-testing-could-face-penalties-under-proposed/article_ec4136ca-650a-5ecd-9963-f5fb91acf1d4.html).

Something tells me that organizations which not only represent medical entities and lawful endeavors, but understand how the law applies to medical practices know much more about these types of things than you. But that is not to say that you have not done some dabbling into scientific foresight and logical divination.

Remember these gems?

  1. At North Surry High a few weeks ago, discussing potential FDA regulation of tobacco and tax increases on cigarettes, Foxx, a former educator, was quoted by The Mount Airy Newsas telling students that “I bet a lot of you like Mountain Dew. You wouldn’t want the government to tell you not to drink Mountain Dew” (http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/editorials/article_7541047c-2b29-5478-b53f-b132842eeb3c.html).

Mountain Dew and cigarettes. Caffeine and nicotine. Nothing addictive about either of those.

dew and gigs

  1. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) disputes President Obama’s claim that 47 million Americans lack healthcare. “There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare,” she says. “We do have about 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who can not afford it,” she says, urging Congress to adopt a new plan for healthcare reform that wouldn’t “destroy what is good about healthcare in this country” and “give the government control of our lives” (https://thinkprogress.org/rep-virginia-foxx-there-are-no-americans-who-dont-have-health-care-582c8e227b6c#.23f3o5c2f).

And the very bill that you are helping Rep. Ryan and President Trump pass at this very instant was just clarified by the Congressional Budget Office as being worse than the original one that did not have enough support earlier this week.

foxx ryan

“The agency revised its figures to reflect amendments made to the bill that were announced on Monday. The new numbers do not take into account a deal underway to woo House conservatives to support the measure.

Though the bill would be more costly, it would still leave 24 million fewer people insured than under current law. Some 52 million people would be uninsured in 2026 under the GOP legislation, compared to 28 million if Obamacare continued — the same as the prior estimate (http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/23/news/economy/obamacare-cbo-republican-bill/index.html).”

This could be worse than Obamacare? No! Why? Because Virginia, you said,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA66v858_NU&feature=player_embedded

  1. That’s right. You said we have more to fear from Obamacare than we do from terrorists.

So when someone who espouses hyperbolic tendencies when speaking to constituents in Congress while writing books that praise her faith, yet totally contradicts reality and hides behind the fact that she never debates political opponents or hold town halls for fear of being asked intelligent questions writes an op-ed like the one aforementioned, then she may need to be tested herself – for a preexisting condition known as ignorance.

I know what I am asking for from Santa this year.

And this genetically-enhanced kid still wants more hours in the day to go play ball.

Malcolmsanta

Malcolm’s Wish For World Down Syndrome Day (3/21)

Every year on March 21, the Down Syndrome International sponsors for the world community a WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY. You can read more about it here: https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/.

The date is a direct reference to genetic condition known as Trisomy 21 (three #21 chromosomes) which is commonly known as Down Syndrome.

But Malcolm does not thin much about the fact that he has a little bit more genetic material than most people do. In fact, he could care less as long as he feels included just like other kids.

So Malcolm asked me to tell you that he wants people to more inclusive and accepting of what are really minors differences we all have because whether you have Down Syndrome or not, we are more alike than different.

That is unless you are not redheaded and blue-eyed like over 99% of the world which makes Malcolm part of rarest minority in the world in that regard.

And he wanted me to share some pictures of him that show how uniquely alike he is to other kids.

And here’s to the fact that Malcolm never really needs a special day to just be.

Any day will do.